Despite being both sun and moon, you are truly winter gods. You rule over a city of darkness and storms where summer is merely an abstract concept. Even the summer solstice is soaked in blood, after all, and the sun’s inevitable triumph is something to be mourned, not celebrated. Between the solstices are a succession of long, starless nights bleeding into short, rainy days. Or perhaps it is all the same day, the same night, the same moment drawn out into eternity; I admit it’s hard to tell. Either way, your realm is not for those who wish to honor the ever-turning wheel of the year and its balance of light and dark, death and rebirth. You are gods of death only. Each solstice is ushered in with blood and in between darkness reigns.
Hail to the Sun and Moon, lords of darkness and decay
Hail to the Sun and Moon, lords of light and love
Hail to the Sun and Moon, lords of my heart, lords of my life
Hail to the Sun and Moon, proud, cruel, fickle
Hail to the Sun and Moon!
Every solstice someone dies. On the summer solstice, the Moon; on the winter solstice, the Sun. Each time is different, yet each time is the same. I spend the weeks leading up to the solstice imagining death after death, murder after murder, seeking the scene that will be chosen for this iteration. Will it be suicide or fratricide – premeditated or a crime of passion? Will it involve a gun or a knife, poison or illness, violence or mercy? The Moon prefers small, sharp things that bleed his lover out slowly, while the Sun prefers to leave bullet holes or bruises on pale skin. And where will it take place? In bed, where they are most vulnerable? The alley, hidden within a curtain of pouring rain? Or on the roof, with all the dark city laid out below as witness? I cannot yet say for sure. Right now all I feel is the thin blade in my hand and all I see is the night sky reflected in his unfocused eyes.
“Finding him won’t change anything.”
verb; gerund or present participle: finding
- discover or perceive by chance or unexpectedly.
- recognize or discover (something) to be present.
- (of a thing) reach or arrive at, either of its own accord or without the human agent being known.
reach the understanding or conscience of (someone).
Okay, I get it; I’m asking too many questions. I need to back down. I need to shut up. I need to be thankful for what I know and stop asking for more. Let some truths lie. Accept the unknown unknown.
Why, I ask you, is the summer solstice so much harder to face than winter’s? Awash in red, you shrug and answer with that eternally sad smile of yours, Because we both love him. I expected this answer. I love you, too, I point out, but you shake your head. Not in the same way, and then, before I can respond, Don’t worry, I don’t take it personally. Over the body of your dead lover, I try to meet your eyes, match your smile, and fail. Three’s a crowd.
The apple. The pomegranate. His hand.
Chest to chest, hip to hip as if one heartbeat, as if one breath
(step, turn, step)
hand to the small of the back and fingers trailing over stiff linen
(step, turn, dip)
and then the bite of the blade, too sharp to even hurt
(step, turn, step)
red drops on white carpet, rose petal wrists
(step, turn, step)
arm sliding around narrow waist, mouths bruising
then the blade to bare throat with merciful speed
and gentle hands amid the red river
lay him down.
I serve the sun and moon, though not in any form from any myths yet told. This is not a masculine sun and feminine moon, fallow winter to fertile summer, balance and symbiosis. This is not The Lovers or The Wheel; this is The Hanged Man and the Five of Swords. I serve a sun and moon who usher in the solstices with godblood and death. I serve a cowardly sun and an apathetic moon. I serve an addicted sun and an ascetic moon. I serve a sun who burns too brightly and gives too much, and a moon who’s ever shadowed and gives too little. I serve cruel gods. Bitter gods. Rotting gods. I serve gods who are ever dead and ever dying. I serve gods who love and rage and sorrow with equal ferocity, and who demand offerings of blood and tears. I serve gods who would by no other be served, whose shackles are ancient and unbreaking. I serve gods whom no other would serve, and I would do so regardless of chains.
the solstice approaches and every night now i dream him dead or dying, your arms a cradle, your arms a cage, are you tired of watching your lover die? because i am tired of watching your lover die, i am tired of offering my tears and my breath and my blood but with what else can you send the moon on his journey into darkness, how can you not weep and tear out your hair? it is astounding how each time feels like the first and only, how a heart can break and break and break again and again and again and still be agony, devastation, and I do not blame you if you are tired of watching your lover die because i watch each time as well, and i am very tired
The longest night is one of blood and death, but there are many ways to die. The longest night is one of sin and a falling from grace, but there are many ways to fall. Bodies entwined, limbs twist and clutch; fingers dig crescent moons into sweaty flesh; teeth nip and graze and sink deep to leave possessive bruises. Lips seek the source of heat and longing, eager for union, for submission, for the chance to worship on bended knee. In this moment there is nothing but the joining of flesh and spirit, no love or desire greater than that which brings two together in the ancient rhythm of skin against skin. Thus wordlessly, amid only gasps and groans and the erratic cacophony of competing heartbeats, they melt with the heat of the sun and move with the pull of the moon. Entwined, they share the climax which washes over them with a shuddering force, a giving and receiving, a taking and leaving. The longest night is one of death, but tonight it is the little death, and they both partake.