J. BRAXTON COOPER
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SUN
Secretly, the savage knew the truth about the Sun,
that it did not sink nightly into the consecrated sea,
that the face of a saint submerged couldn’t bring the rain,
but he went on pouring pails of water over the dancing girls,
& showering the skeletons of the recently deceased,
or erecting imaginary rainbows over the skins of dead pythons.
Even Merlin among the Hawthorns slumbering knew
the Sun didn’t need the bleeding hearts of man to give him
strength, that he had no use for the fresh horses tossed into the sea
to help pull his chariot gleaming across the heavens.
Still, the savage shot his flaming arrows into the eclipse to help reignite
the dying god. He could not imagine a world without spells
in which blood was rain & a feather was a cloud & flaming branches
& hot stones could stop the rising floods, where the foreskins
of the village boys wrapped in feathers could make the rain return,
a world that when he required the assistance of the winds
he could simply loosen the length of rope tied in a witch’s knot
& in the time of drought could sink the likeness of a saint
in a pond with a moon in the middle of it shining from below.