WHAT WE DID WITH THE MOON
The moon was a dumpling in the sky, so we ate it. Before us, no one had successfully done so. In 1981, a Polish woman had made it through the icy barriers but found that, once it was within her reach, she had no appetite for it. My theory was that the ice volcanoes and atmospheric limitations weren’t the moon’s only protection. I imagined a psychological barrier as well. So I took you. We were friends, and I’ve had feelings for you for years. Whatever hadn’t transpired between us weakened the rock.
We woke up hung-over, gray crumbs in our teeth. Moonless, the city transformed. The sidewalk cracks gaped open and lakes spilled over. My apartment trembled, and you piled broken pieces of glass and plates into the sink. But we were full. For too long we had sustained ourselves with small trays of frozen food. We had been hungry for vivid dreams. You said, “I dreamt of being a quick-pawed coyote, a flash of gold in the grasslands.”
When the authorities bashed through the windows, they dragged us apart and slammed us in cells to design our harsh punishment. You would spend your prison time planning the next venture, to eat like a coyote. I tallied days on the cement slab between us.
You never asked me about my moon dream; you were so preoccupied with yours. I dreamt of a black river, a night swim, a hint of light on my shoulders. In the water like air, my breaststroke was clear and powerful. All around me animals were dying—deer knees buckling at the bank of the river, fish floating upside-down. From the trees, birds splashed into the current. Eating the moon bettered you, but it made me uncertain of everything.
Did the bites, one-by-one, fill us—did we slurp up all the cold, pungent gravel? Am I full of remorse? I doubt it. When we gorged together, the darkness grew.
ANNA MEBEL lives in Syracuse, NY. Her work has appeared on Tin House's Open Bar.