What the Eclipse Taught Me ||| Pittsburgh Poetry Review

If you get five out of six numbers correct in the lottery, you’re still a loser.
–Fred Espenak, “Mr. Eclipse”

88% is a lot, nearly the whole
xxxxthing. The black moon sliding

over the sun like a manhole
xxxxcover, a heavy mineral disc left

ajar. But shadow-chasers say
xxxxtotality makes all the difference.

I wouldn’t know, never having
xxxxexperienced anything but

the almost, the mostly,
xxxxthe not-quite. Still, 88%

isn’t bad, I’ll take it I guess—
xxxxexamine the shadows more

closely than usual, the sickle
xxxxsuns scattered across

the leafy asphalt. I’ll glance
xxxxup at that bare sliver of light—

just 12%, the merest scrap—
xxxxa white curve of flame just

bright enough to prevent
xxxxme from seeing the stars.


Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer in the Pacific Northwest, where she coproduces the Bellingham Kitchen Sessions reading series. She is the author of Object Permanence (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Willow Springs, Cincinnati Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox, The Literary Review, and others.

What the Eclipse Taught Me” appeared in Pittsburgh Poetry Review‘s 2018 issue.

Look for new work from Elizabeth Vignali in TLR: Chemistry, the all-poetry issue, available now.