The One I Wrote During the Eclipse

As the cosmic event commences
I tune into NASA’s live stream on YouTube
Monitoring darkness’ slow creep from my desk,
But it’s the comment section
That quickly has me entranced:
Turkish porn is best
I want you to cum in my mouth
Shoutout to North Ireland
Another step closer to the end times
Penis penis penis

All the penis and porn remarks
Are not coming from the same account,
Or even the same two or three accounts.
It makes me think of the birds,
How they’ve fallen silent on electrical wires,
Aware of a shift in the world,
And the long, overnight road trips
Where the only light visible is from billboards,
Mostly for Jesus, except the ones advising us
To turn off in a quarter mile for adult video store pleasures,
Promises of all desires met.
Our eternal reward awaits us in heaven,
Or at least, the next exit.
I step out into the half-light,
Hushed, still crowds with their faces turned up,
Eyes hidden behind safety lenses
A science professor adjusts filtered telescopes for his students,
The entire world wishing upon one great star
I don’t have the safety glasses, but
I want to look up
I want to look up
To make of my naked eyeballs
An offering for whatever deity
Still burns behind the moon
And the urge is so powerful,
I go back inside where I cannot be drawn
To retinal scarification and certain doom.
I go back to the quiet dark of the office
Where, on the live feed, I see
NASA has disabled comments.

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Lauren Scharhag is a writer of fiction and poetry. She is the recipient of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award for poetry and a fellowship from Rockhurst University for fiction. She lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and three cats. To learn more about her work, visit: