The Sun Shall Be Turned Into Darkness
by Ronnie Sirmans
Friends and strangers at a gazebo.
We wore special glasses for
this great American thing,
and we could see even though
the world was getting dimmer.
The crowd in this not so big town,
which was in a lucky viewing spot,
grew and gathered, dads tossing
baseballs to children, kids chasing
bubbles from a plastic machine,
moms checking diapers or snacks,
teens holding hands seated on the grass
without blankets, insects popping up
from the blades to get out of the way.
Every now and then you could smell
dog poop in the breeze as if animals
were upset at trying to make sense
of this world. Did we notice a quiet
so loud that we only heard ourselves
and everyone else was a shhhhhhhh?
Then: applause for the heavens,
our world around that town’s
gazebo miraculously changed.
We’d taken off our glasses
when it was safe to stare,
all of us banded under totality,
and the blackness of the sun
shimmered in biblical pieces.
Then when it was light,
the world was returning
to what we thought normal,
we sillily put our special spectacles
back on, as if we wanted to make
it so dark we didn’t see a thing.
Ronnie Sirmans is a metro Atlanta newspaper journalist whose poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, The South Carolina Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Light, The Museum of Americana, Third Wednesday and elsewhere. Read his previous poems in Deep South Magazine here. Follow him on Twitter at @RonSirmans.