The Day of the Eclipse by Sarah Russell

The Day of the Eclipse

Leaves patchwork a trail to the stream.
My footfall on the bank scatters the trout
who come to spawn each August, jeweled
reflections following instinct.

My son called today, a should-he
or shouldn’t-he conversation. I listened,
questioned. His indecision is unknown
by wild things who live the primordial,
the insatiable.

Through the trees, moon eclipses sun
in an eerie twilight not ruled by manners,
mores, norms. Crickets start reverberations
in the trees. Bright glints in the water move
through my shadow, the moon’s shadow—
stars in an ancient galaxy.

by Sarah Russell

Editor’s Note: This poem’s quiet imagery belies the extraordinary nature of the eclipse that fell across the North American continent. It’s insistence on ordinary things illuminates how extraordinary it is that we are all alive at all.

From the archives – Ardors by Maryann Corbett



What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire —Stanley Kunitz

As if the sin of Adam took its toll
on trees, the maples stricken with the fall
burn in their sins. Red passion and proud gold,

their vanities float down like scraps of flame.
Lives ago, we burned them—garden stubble
and leaves—the yard’s year gone in a smoky plume

curling to heaven. Now the tumulus
of compost seethes in its center, simmers, mulls.
We rake the piles. The crickets’ wings rehearse

desire, desire, slowing as daylight’s slant
unwarms the world. We feel it too, the chill,
the ache displacing older, wilder want:

Leaf into loam, red giant to black hole,
lust into languor, everything that burns
burns out: the dust, the gas, the acrid smell,

the end of the matter. All our burning’s doomed,
even these fires where maple trees are found
still ardent after years, still unconsumed.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, October 1, 2015 — by Maryann Corbett

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim