“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,
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.
This time in earnest. All-absorbing, embracing
and deep. A dive into ebony substance,
I relax and new senses are born.
I lean forward.