Skin’s Dark Night Amy Pence

Eclipse, Or Small River Stones

There is no time to catch up to the moment
when the girl will lose her luster.

No time like the present where we sit
on the eve of the solar eclipse,

when we are confused by a profusion
of dream-time lifting us

across the water, across the water.
We are in the pall of a smog-soaked day,

sometime in the future when I eclipse the dream
of the accident over the accident of the dream:

the car passes us on the curve of the Interstate
and I think it might explode. It’s that moment

when the poor approach the chain-link fence
and extend their swollen palms, a dream

transposed to the wet surface of time.
I am standing still in the desert, near

a waterfall, when the girl plunges fifteen feet,
hitting the boulders, and I cannot change it.

A man stumbles from the rocks with blood
on his hands and I’ve eaten the shadow

from the moment, because I cannot
change. But see myself as a child bending

to pale stones in the creek-bed, smooth
as if tumbled—only the earth is raw.

Across the water, the sad shapes: a girl falling,
a girl raped, a girl touched with knives,

the poverty of their faces, hungry
when they approach me.


February 2003 2River