Shadow is the Corpse of the Sun by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

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Shadow is the Corpse of the Sun

After an installation by Ralph Lemon

The corpse of the sun
     is a shadow,
squalid and hitting bottom
     to be made tactile
to the soles of a pair of girls,  
     beset by imperfections
of skeleton and nervous systems,     
     playing on their father’s smooth
patio, circa the years before the problems
     began. The sun does not die
in quantifiable intervals, but in eras,  
     plasmic cycles of heat and release
set off by decisions as firm as fluid 
     that fills the architecture of spheres
and square roots; or as random as tilted 
      hips, pigeon toes, hormones colluding 
with the absence of strict instructions
      for the pulses and inhibitions;
it’s never pretty, but to some it’s occasionally
      monumental. We could make a study
of these conditions, much like a grandmother’s 
      collection of costume jewelry, outsized 
simulations of mineral wealth, wrangled into 
      awkward metals, much like an adolescent
mindset re-enlisting a central event long after  
      it’s defined by modern medicine. 
If you remain within the shade too long you
      might learn the role gravity shares with 
electromagnetics; that there is no ladder 
      to scale up to the celestial bodies 
so you could untwist the rungs, wrench 
      out the crossbars you find offensive;  
emancipate curves and ellipses into
       the clarities of linear distances 
because that happens only in books your mother 
       read to you with a promise that if you go
to sleep and stay that way through the night,
       you will arise refreshed and curious 
about what the day has to deliver
      even if it is a scaffold howling through
the solar storm, the usual kiss
      of emptiness. 

Jane Rosenberg LaForge is the author of three full-length collections of poetry; four chapbooks; a memoir; and two novels. Her fourth full-length collection will be My Aunt’s Abortion, from BlazeVOX [Books], in 2023. More poetry and fiction are forthcoming from Pirene’s Fountain, Thimble Literary Magazine, and The Adroit Journal. She also reviews books for American Book Review and reads poetry for COUNTERCLOCK literary magazine.

Image: Ozma, CC by 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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