The night the sun burned out we closed all the windows
and hoped it wouldn’t rain. It hung empty above us
like a winter stripped oak uprooted or a wheel half
buried in a late night dirt. Tendrils of steam drifted
over the roofs, the remnants of energy dimmed,
and the things we held as permanent began breaking:
Orion’s snapped belt, the dipper’s cracked handle,
the dog gone missing, though we shouted his name
to the southern skies, the sound cooling to silence,
mythologies extinguished slowly, old and out.
The skeleton too large to bury, we tried using
our bodies’ warmth in efforts of resurrection,
twisting wires to grand machines, setting books
on fire, igniting match after match to throw
inside the sun’s emptied ribs. But eventually,
our eyes adjusted. We stepped back inside
our houses, ate cold dinners, never cut fresh flowers;
what had we ever done but orbit our bones,
repeated a warning about not looking straight
at the thing that seemed like it would blaze forever.
Madeleine Wattenberg holds an MA in Creative Writing from University of Cincinnati. She begins her MFA in Poetry at George Mason University in Fall 2015. She can’t decide which spelling of fairies (faeries?) she prefers. Her work has appeared in The Louisville Review and Cactus Heart.
Photo: Rob Woodcox, “Shipwrecked Lovers”