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 “Lucina”: archaic. A midwife. [Lat. goddess of childbirth < lucinus, light-bringing] — American Heritage Dictionary


What is this ritual?

Solstice is descent

into the densest

point of the dark,

the shortest day,

the longest night,

the nadir of the year.

After that, it’s all uphill.


It’s the point at which the sun appeared

to ancient astronomers to “stand,”


for three days and three nights,

like Jesus in the tomb,

at its low point.

The death of light

in this world. Darkness so dark

you braille your way up the blind alley, the valley

of the shadow.

No light at your feet and no hand

to guide you.

Nothing to do but step down the unlighted staircase,



and feel what the blind feel.


Time drops out. Death sits

in the same dark room with me

behind a brittle veneer.

Dare to breathe and life returns

to the guts,

heart beats out a reminder

that I d o n o t s e e,

but still I am here.

My sentience takes up space,

displaces universe,

has substance that doesn’t go away

simply because I forgot my own existence.


Slowly the eyes,

hungry for photons,

collect around them the phosphorus

of some inner life, projecting movies

on the dark screen. But they, too, are shadowed,

winding down, too burdened by their knowing

]that they are momentary flickers. They continue to run.

]Maybe they wonder

what is next,

when they are finished.

Then black.

This time in earnest. All-absorbing, embracing

and deep. A dive into ebony substance,

luminous darkness.

I relax and new senses are born.

I lean forward.


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