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The Woman in White Marble

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Shadow of the Moon 

You're up at dawn that morning,
Though hours still must pass.
Pack your gear and nervously
Check the day's forecast.

Your telescope is ready,
Set-up's quickly done,
Projecting now on clean white sheets
The circle of the Sun.

Chew your lip and check the time
Nothing can distract
Wait for the first
Excited shout -
It's here!
First Contact!

You'll barely see it starting
As you project the Sun -
Until a nip, a flattened edge
Confirms that it's begun.

Amuse yourself as best you can
As the minutes linger,
Projecting tiny crescent Suns
Through your crisscrossed fingers.

You can detect a cooling
The day is turning chill
But the gooseflesh on your arms
Is from the growing thrill.

Now the sky is growing dim,
Shadows oddly clear.
Dark column in the west,
The light is getting weird.

Between the lunar peaks,
Shines through as Bailey Beads.
Second Contact Totality!
Join the crowd in cheers.

The blackest disk you'll ever see
Surrounded by corona -
By wisps and streams of frozen light,
Brief glint of red
A bonus.

Yes, the stars are coming out,
Twilight now encircles,
But it's too hard to look away
You don't get a rehearsal.

Third Contact!
Met with groans and cries,
Returning Sun's a tease,
Blinks diamond ring,
Glares scorching slice,
Totality moves east.

We few among the millions
Received a cosmic boon,
We few are marked forever.
We stood within
The shadow
Of the Moon.

Copyright © 2017 Kate Rauner

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