M.V. Montgomery

In Issue 5 on February 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm

What We Did With Old Moons
for Italo Calvino

The full moon always made a satisfying draught. We used to say,
Here’s moon in your eye! or sip some and remark, That’s good moon.
We loved our moon then, would slice it like pie, use it for custards
and cakes, or pour it into children’s milk—not much, though, lest
they become moody as teens. And it made a good beard-silverer,
tooth-brightener, and a fine eye-glow. The white white was so
remarkable we lined streets with it to see better at dusk, slapped
a dash on corners here and there, or spread it evenly over fences.
And we needed it, because we’d have to wait twenty-eight days
until the next moon harvest. We knew if we didn’t embrace that
fullness while we could, it’d go to waste, break into shards and
dissipate into the night sky, too bright to form clouds but too thin
for stars. So we’d take our milk buckets and meet in the meadow,
and the men would murmur and mix their paint while the women
brushed highlights into their hair. And the moon-maids laughed
and filled their pails while the boys positioned their ladders and
scampered up and got oh so daringly close! They’d see who could
climb right next to that old satellite, come down coated in beams,
ready to chase or be chased in a game of moon-tag. And you’d
know when you were caught, because the light left circles on your
skin and mantles in your hair and cuticles at the tips of your fingers.
But we didn’t care—we bathed in it, knew it must wear off soon,
before the new moon cast its spell. Until then, we were all lunar
children, lambent-eyed and laughing, lost in our moon-foolishness.


M.V. Montgomery is an Atlanta professor and author of the books Joshu Holds a Press Conference, Strange Conveyances, Dream Koans, and Antigravitas.

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