Encounters


Mayan Temple, Photo by Carol Ferber Pryor
Mayan Temple, Photo by Carol Ferber Pryor

In the Dark of the Sun


The maiden cut a hole in parchment
Placed it facing skyward and flashed a mirror
Behind it to aim the beams of light
Into the darkening garden
Sun turning dark— our sun, our life
As the moon proceeded the animals were quiet
Uncertain but obedient that the day was not theirs to keep
Domestic beasts gathered by her
Knowing she would know
The treetops darkened as a jungle
Filtering above for those below
And the moment was here for her mirror sent
Sickles of shadowed circles into the black oaks
The ground ivy outlined facets of a moving jewel
In its moment-lifetime and she the representative
The Mayan princess, did not move
She forgave that the fearful killed her
They that gathered to cast away their names
Yet their sweet weakness for death had not permitted them
Absence at the spectacle
But now she spoke melodiously to the creatures
Proof she had harmed no living being
And had once taken upon herself the ritual called
Giving the heart at the top of the stairs
Though the mind speak of chance
To die is a shadow or shaded lifetime
Alike the fixed tapestry along the hall
Leading to the pyramid stairs
While north in the protected inner court
The priests interpreted suffering for its signs
And surely did not ascend the four-sided peak
Kin to four kernals at the tip of maize
That signal completion, the implacable law of the sun
Blood offering and sun goddess being one
Seeing the past and to come
On either side the light and dark...
Just so now she stood gazing skyward with the mirror at her heart
Divine daydream and its substance

And when miles away I went out to the eerie light
And saw the prodigious gas ball free-floating
Blinded seeing nothing she wordlessly spoke and her skin glowed
Saying you were drawn though you did not understand:
We are the sun as membrane to the body
The sun you saw is not the true sun but you will see it
And all the sacrifices will sleep

Dedicated to Judith Ann Heegler Ray


Photo by Thor Fienberg


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