TOTAL ECLIPSE

©2017 Kenneth Harper Finton

 

TOTAL ECLIPSE

August 21, 2017, near Casper, Wyoming.

 

We had parked the night before

in a turnabout at the junction

of two lonely Wyoming highways.

By morning, a hamlet of onlookers had been formed.

Behind me, two elderly astronomers spoke

of virtual particles falling into black holes

as the brilliant noonday sun began to look like

Pacman on the prowl through the dark glass.

The proper exclamation at totality

became the subject of discussion.

“Ooooooooh” and “Wow” and “Holy Shit”

were all deemed appropriate reactions.

Slowly, like waiting on water to boil,

the shadow of the moon became the aggressor

as Sol lost its appetite and became

that which was consumed.

The summer air cooled and the colors

of the forced dusk flooded the senses.

There was the sensation of a passing cloud,

a waning of the light, a ghostly chill in the air,

as the smallest sliver of the Sun

was eaten away by the black shadow.

A shocking sky became manifest

in an instant, as the sun became a distant star

All of the agreed upon exclamations and more

rose from the crowd about me.

Everyone was in awe of the power

of that last intense speck of light before totality.

The vision was transformed in an instant into a black hole

with radiant beams of a five-pointed star

with a circular black center illumined

by the huge, vibrating rays of the corona.

Sunrise could be seen in all directions

as Sol slowly re-emerged in a Bronco blue and orange sky

with a circular black center illumined

by the huge, vibrating rays of the corona.

The world was never so lovely,

the Sun was never so welcome,

Venus hung above the horizon,

lost in the love of the blue shadows.

As the onlookers left, they joined the vast parade

of vehicles jamming the little-traveled roads.

We slowly passed where a motorcycle

ran off the road at a high speed.

A body bag was being lifted into a waiting ambulance

as notes were made into reports.

Of course, we wondered about the victim.

Who was this whose life’s fate was linked

to such a celestial drama?

The bag was full, indications of a large male corpse.

Did he have a heart attack?

Did he lose consciousness

At a vital moment?

We could do nothing.

We could say nothing.

I have learned nothing.

Total eclipses come in many ways.

 

PartialSunEclipse9

 

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