Syzygy

Does it quell or quiver
mundane terror
to wear blinders
to see better —

to close one eye
in search of an opening,
bent backwards like
a shadow over and over

the millennia? History and
celestial bodies are in orbit.
Is it more or less dangerous
to stare at the naked truth? Your

moon makes its rounds, our
sun craves like the fire
it is, then a small sphere
goes dim somewhere

in the incomprehensible universe.
Is this allowed, sliver of reverence
for science? Is this halo hallowed or
merely fleeting convergence?

Bigotry has a perigee,
apparently. Umbrage
eclipses unity. Yet
here in the umbra

look how we’re all tilting
our heads to the same degree,
eyes up, arms outreaching
in unison, observing the same fact,

one straight line from neck
to sky, awed and angled in respect —
not fear or feckless furor —
saluting that ripe then sickle star

and its long dark stripe.

***

Alexandra Haines-Stiles is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford, where she studied twentieth-century literature and language. Her work has appeared in Copper Nickel, The Missouri Review Online, Hanging Loose and elsewhere. She lives in New York.

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