What is an eclipse
but the need to dismiss the sun’s constant shine. Which isn’t the light from original night, although it can also blind you, along with the other imposters of bright, you know who I mean, those stars that pretend to live past their time. I’ve seen them all trip on a piece of sky and still in radiant death they insist, theirs is the right way to navigate. Why should I trust a million year lie? I want Orion to take out his sword and fight, already. Helios will only be confined on certain celestial occasions. And without his glaring bag of tricks, icy dust can begin to birth the comets, whose velvet tails have another map of darkness to design.
Their velvet tails have another map
of darkness to design, as the Milky Way unwraps its newborn constellations, and lays them down inside the night’s configurations. One rocky lamp is left to give illumination. Oh moon, teach me how to disappear like you and fool the oceans one evening at a time. I also want the tides to crawl into my lap and then reveal myself. It’s not the slow unveiling, but the promise, perhaps, that keeps the flags and poets coming back. All those stories about bending by a pool to see your soul; it’s the tease of reflection, that door that only opens in one direction, the gap between what you lack and the slap of expectation. And so the moon circles back to overlap and please the eager face of earth that lifts in its direction.
To please the eager
face of earth that lifts in its direction, that fickle crescent rises first. Do they rehearse? The steps are different every nightly assignation. I read my horoscope this morning just in case: Today you might get caught up in the fray to support a friend. This goes against your grain. Is it worth it, Gemini? But earth, that loyal planet, waits patiently, rotates, while gravity or maybe space convinces the mirth of spring to embrace February’s snowy girth again. There is no dearth of second chances. Summer, full of Grace, will fatten up her sphere of plenty. Nature is a lover who wants only to amaze. And on the third day it was good — although the fruitful ground did replace one of the commandments. (A minor one, albeit, that’s fairly hard to trace.) And there was evening and there was morning, before the garden was erased.
And there was evening. And there was morning before the garden was erased, replaced by all that talk of feasting in the dust, the taste of lust, and how there must have been something before need. Do you believe there is a birthday for the trees? I mean, why not? They breathe like us, only backwards, lose their leaves and their blood is sweet, their roots can speak to one another. Yes, it’s true, almonds always lead and are the first to blossom and appease, after they have crossed over the winter. Or so it seems. The body tends to freeze and there are certain seeds still lost and dazed below. Remember. Written in the deed of the circles that they leave is an accounting by each tree of the years that have passed, since we left together.
Of the years that have passed since we left together,
Of the plans that were not sown, and of the weather Which has nothing to do with it. Of the story That has been told, of the clues that are enclosed, Of angry angels blocking all directions. May they Be fruitful and multiply. Of the glass that becomes Known by breath that is on loan to the inanimate, Which also comes from earth. Of the difference Between skin and leather, the many holy names Of letters. Is it the tone that makes it prayer? Of getting up, of getting up again, of the undertow, Of the murmur of the river’s flow beneath our feet. Of the water that tries to navigate by learning to Evaporate, which is to say, there is another way home.
Which is to say,
there is another way home. Just yesterday, I saw the beating arc of starlings who migrate to the Negev every year. It was late and you have to take my word for this. They became a single body that exhaled a melody of startled scales made out of bones and feathers; a flock of notes that scattered to swoop and play, then reassemble in a different serenade, a fist of sky squeezing its shape, or the curve of a swan’s neck. It was remarkable, how soundless waves could cart away the distance, and how I forgave, in that moment, everyone. Which is to say, that the desert is a grave and lonely place, where silence reappears as another kind of music.
Where silence reappears as another
kind of music, and the fence of rules is bent by the Divine. Once I saw a play about the deaf and the blind, I mean to say, the cast was both combined. I don’t know how they did it, someone guided them at times, I suppose. It was my birthday and the price included dinner at a restaurant nearby, called “Blackout.” There we were led to the island of a table, then left behind to find our food in the dark, only our waiter could save us. You could say we were feeding on his kindness. And they stood under the mountain and saw the voices and the thunder. No wonder all those souls were afraid to be confined inside their senses, so they fled, and left their bodies behind.
So they fled and left their bodies behind. I am reminded of a man I met in Tzfat who died for seven minutes, but the angels said he wasn’t finished and sent him back instead. He woke up to find his arms and legs had been replaced and were now synthetic. If that’s their gift, then I don’t want to ascend. But then again, my mind won’t bend around most of the endings, or imagine being led off to anywhere. I want my bed and the heft of my breath, to continue being fed on dreams of theft. After all, if time can steal, then why not I? Is it just dread or has the thread of my consciousness been wed so long to feeling, there is no medication left to divorce them, only this dusty payment of a debt.
dusty payment of a debt and yet the universe begets again and again while we are held by the eternal neck of murmurings and nothing. Let it be said: We were gathered in the firmament. Last night the yellow wind cried and threw itself against my window. The air hurt. It was so full of dirt I couldn’t tell if it belonged to sky or had been blown off its perch of earth. It’s true, the elements were once told to comply, but they are more inclined to devise a way around that separation. You know, how tides like to rise, and cells want to multiply in time, then wander past the sticky net of heaven overhead; for chaos is a magnet, not a void.
For chaos is a magnet,
not a void, where confusion is assembled and the star drunk asteroids await their orders, spirits cross the borders into matter, and God’s breath loiters over possibility. Or maybe not. It’s hard to feel the formless pulse of meaning; when time is not deployed, there is no lack to ferment, no pull to regret. How do I navigate you, Lord? I call you The Great Name, but you are also A Place to enter or avoid, depending on the daily constellation of these yearnings, my desire to find that restless harbor where creation resides beyond geometry of reason, beyond calculation of each season, when to fix the hours with light and when to let need dismiss the sun’s constant shine.
Jane Medved’s chapbook Olam, Shana, Nefesh was released by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Her recent essays and poems have appeared in Lilith Magazine, Cimarron Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tupelo Quarterly. and New American Writing. She is the poetry editor of The Ilanot Review, the on-line literary magazine of Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she has lived for the last 25 years in Jerusalem, Israel.