Shadow Sustenance

Sara Tantlinger

Shadow Sustenance
I collect shadows in jars
            like fireflies
twinkling little nights
clinking against the glass
splattering black
smudges of ink
against the bottle’s curves
I peel back the shadow’s skin
            reveal hidden starlight,
glittering novae and galaxies
veiled beneath frantic wings
            like swallowed clandestine
moments of the universe’s secrets
buzzing to escape the clutches
of my glass prison,
refusing to become another captive
in the confinement of humanity
as we try to capture something beautiful,
            tame it,
feed it shadows instead of stars


Sara Tantlinger resides outside of Pittsburgh on a hill in the woods. She is the author of Love For Slaughter, has published pieces in several journals such as Space and Time, The Literary Hatchet, Lycan Valley Press, and the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. II. She is a contributing editor for The Oddville Press and embraces all things strange. Find her lurking in graveyards or on Twitter @SaraJane524

Editor’s Notes: Image of a glass jar is filled with M45, the Seven Sisters, also known as the Pleiades star cluster—an infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope using its multiband imaging photometer and infrared array camera. Light with a wavelength of 4.5 microns is blue; 8 microns, green; and 24 microns, red.

According to Greek mythology, the flock of stars was transformed into celestial doves by Zeus. Alfred Lord Tennyson described them as “glittering like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid.”

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