The Sun’s Migration
We wandered forty years,
settling in a house on a hill
that stared east from the back porch.
I watched the sun rise daily across the valley,
tracking colors and lines
of clouds that made up dawn.
I knew the sun moved,
or appeared to, a gray whale
swimming north in spring
and returning south in fall,
always in sight of land.
Still, I’d never tracked its journey,
watched it leave the fins of mountains behind,
lighting paintings on our southern walls.
I grasped desire for the first rock cairns
that became Stonehenge,
the solstice window of the Incan Torreón,
chronicling not just the sun’s return
but the Pleiades and scorpion’s tail,
a plumb line’s shadow sundering an altar
to mark the beginning of the end of winter.
The sun swings its arc,
solstice to solstice, a pendulum
with a period of a year.
Each sweep carries away people we love.
When our time comes
—by fluke or wear, near or far—
when the last stone is placed on our cairns,
we surface for a last breath and descend,
a shimmer in the wake of our daughters and sons,
a ripple spreading outwards to the shore.