Poetry: Eclipse by Nicholas Yingling
In “ECLIPSE,” a lingering memory mimics a vision of shadow and light. Like the light, like the shadow: we are always with those who’ve cared for us.
We’ve tucked the skylights in, stapled the curtains
to the wall. Still the night won’t close,
not completely. In a pale orbit of your hair I sit
watching the sky as if what it does it does so
with purpose, like these dusky string lights
that pass for the souls of orange groves
drawn back to Los Angeles by the August heat.
I turn them off. You’re inside with a migraine,
refusing your pills. Even a seed could plant itself
in your throat, a strawberry’s, a spider’s, a man’s.
When your skull struck the concrete
like a match, some light went out for good and now
I must hold you through each eclipse, each passing
shadow of that other world—the one
where I caught you or your last lover hadn’t
sunk black holes in the drywall with your head.
No one meant to hurt you forever,
not when you asked if you looked like Jean Seberg
and I said, Yes, as Joan of Arc, or when you said,
Tell me the truth, and I told you
how the moon returns from being impossibly thin,
how gravity clings to our missing pieces and one day
they will close a lid on the sun
and kings, priests, soldiers will tremble and pray.
Nicholas Yingling's work can be found in The Missouri Review, 32 Poems, Pleiades, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of UC Davis' creative writing program and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.