Solar Eclipse by Nicole Nicholson

This poem was written for Read Write Poem Prompt #93: Make it a Whopper. And as you can see, I did. I hope you enjoy the read.


I am surrounded by my brothers, the trees. Their leaves
weave a broken green canopy above my head. The sun
casts her veil – a gentle waterfall of lucent gold
tumbling in perfect straight lines to Earth –
through an opening in the leafy roof high above my head. I stand beneath,
shut my eyes for a moment,
and let this spirit of sunlight fall onto my face,
holding my breath until the moon moves into place.
The burnt orange on the back of my eyelids fades into black,
and I open my eyes to find:
the moon wearing her crown,
a lion’s mane of white fire
tipped with electric blue. And now the sunlight waterfall
has turned to dust, a silver tumbling of the moon’s skin
onto my face. I open my mouth and swallow.

The still frames in front of my face
begin to wave and jiggle around the edges, undulating their borders
like wild maenads with wine-soaked eyes, dancing
in a wavy orgasm until they blur into black. I part the forest,
walking north out of the crowd of trees,
running fingers past rugged wooden stomachs
to say my goodbyes. I need no staff, I need
no tablets. I have only one commandment, stamped
onto the puny muscle of red in my chest
that now beats a steady drum and swells to bursting:

thou shalt explore, thou shalt probe this night
and ride these strange waves of vacillation, hold on tight
to the neck of the chaotic unicorn
as he dances in time to these undulations
and threatens to toss you off into the nether.
This directive
sounds out its glyphs in my rib cage,
plays curves, jots, and tittles on golden harp strings
until they threaten to storm my throat
and escape out into the liquid blue air and fringed leaf congregations
hovering around my face.

I stare my intent straight ahead until I bore a hole
through the throng of trees. Underneath the sun-crowned moon
lies the lake, a liquid mirror that sleeps in silence
beneath the black of night. I stop at its edge, reach into water, and
slide my hand past its fluid black skin:

it opens itself, almost arcing upward
to cling to my wrist, to embrace my flesh, to swallow my hand
as lips would enclose a cock. I bend over, curling as if fetal. I want to
go back into the womb.

I dive in smoothly
to slip past the lake’s surface, to cross the border
between water and air. I’m going under. I sail downward,
a human arrow,
past startled schools of fish – packs of silver ellipses flanked by fins
that curve and dart out of my way. I watch
loose hands of green weed wave slow goodbyes to me
as I pass, descending further down into the dark – and now my fingers
reach the rocky bottom. I freeze my nerves, lock my muscles, wait for
my fingertips to bounce off of solid bottom, wait for the shockwaves
to rock my bones with small echoes of pain…
but they slide past the rocks
and into the mud beneath. This lake bottom is greedy, swallowing my hands
just like the surface – and now the rocks and mud
inhale my arm, then my shoulders, next my head,
and then my whole body, pulling me into itself. I shut my eyes and see
three more glyphs – Ayin, Beth, and Reish – shining in gold
against the darkness. Avar? Crossing over? Indeed. Now, I
break through bottom to the other side.

I emerge past a carpet of grass into air, and my hair
is no longer wet from lake desire. My face is dry
with no evidence of my water journey. The moon hangs, uncrowned,
a silver earring teasing me through a curtain of cotton candy clouds that
collect themselves in clumps and spread thin fogged veils
throughout the sky. Around her, pin-prick stars, silvery white blood
emerging from holes in the black. Below her,
the silhouettes of mountains form an m on the horizon,
flanked by trees standing stately
and casting their Afro crowns up into the sky until they
begin to touch the clouds. And now, I grab handfuls of that sky,
pull them up to my nose, and smell this air made of:

suspended water, tree perfume,
soil soaked with yesterday’s rain,
and grass, straining with backs bent under
the heavy load of water. I squeeze these handfuls
until they bleed liquid,
dropping black wax onto the ground. I rotate my wrists
as I squeeze – and vinyl records,
aching and tattooed with grooves, form at my feet.

I turn around, and find another forest behind me.
It is nothing like the one I came from – these men stand
with argentate trunks, each wearing
a cascade of curled golden leaves tumbling from their heads
and holding the eldritch amber glow of fiery backlight
in their slim, sterling arms. I pick up my black ribbed messengers of vinyl
and walk past them, crunching leaf and twig under my feet –
and suddenly, in the midst of this silvery, sylvan collective,
I find a turntable lying on the ground.

I pick up the tone arm, lay one of the records gently on the platter –
and it begins to spin by the magic of sheer thought. I lower
the tone arm, connect stylus with vinyl, and make needle kiss groove –
and the sound of clarinets melting,
violin strings snapping and bending in on themselves,
and organ pipes marching heaving flute feet up my back
emerges slowly from the depths of spinning, slick black.
The same moon dust I inhaled before
now falls from my eyes and lands as silvery puddles of powder
on the record and instantly,
I am reduced to the height of nothing,
standing inside a black slippery trench
with the sky and the gold tree tops of the puissant forest
spinning madly above me. I can do nothing
but dance inside this groove as golden Yodhs, Hes, and Waws
fly up from the vinyl past my face and
into the night air. I reach out, touch their smooth, reflective skins,
and watch them shiver and leave
a hint of gold sparkle on my fingertips. And I dance,
conjoined with the sounds flying up from around my feet. Tonight,
I am the music.

Written 9/24/09
© 2009 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

Stumble It!
Stumble It!


About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
This entry was posted in Poems, Prompt Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Eclipse

  1. Paul Oakley says:

    Beautiful, Nicole. You had me the whole way, from I am surrounded by my brothers, the trees to And I dance, conjoined with the sounds flying up from around my feet. Tonight, I am the music.

    Paul Oakley
    Blogging his ReadWritePoem poems at
    Inner Light, Radiant Life

  2. anthonynorth says:

    A brilliant fantasy there. Enjoyed that.

  3. irene says:

    A hypnotic fantasy leaving me breathless.

  4. davidmoolten says:

    Fictional, but not dishonest. A very musical, hopeful, and pastoral fantasy.

  5. Quite a lovely vision. You painted each shifting scene beautifully. So many great word pictures. And I like the directive to explore… it’s one we should all embrace.

  6. wayne says:

    you painted this nicely..thanks for sharing

  7. Tumblewords says:

    Unusual piece – great imagery and movement.

  8. Deb says:

    Imaginative storytelling. I liked best the going to goove.

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