Elizabeth Vignali

What the Eclipse Taught Me

If you get five out of six numbers correct in the lottery, you're still a loser.
                                  —Fred Espenak, “Mr. Eclipse”

88% is a lot, nearly the whole
          thing. The black moon sliding

over the sun like a manhole
          cover, a heavy mineral disc left

ajar. But shadow-chasers say
          totality makes all the difference.

I wouldn’t know, never having
          experienced anything but

the almost, the mostly,
          the not-quite. Still, 88%

isn’t bad, I’ll take it I guess—
          examine the shadows more

closely than usual, the sickle
          suns scattered across

the leafy asphalt. I’ll glance
          up at that bare sliver of light—

just 12%, the merest scrap—
          a white curve of flame just

bright enough to prevent
          me from seeing the stars.

Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer in the Pacific Northwest, where she coproduces the Bellingham Kitchen Sessions reading series. She is the author of Object Permanence (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Willow Springs, Cincinnati Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox, The Literary Review, and Natural Bridge.

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