F L A S H F I C T I O N
THE MOON HAS NO SHOES*
b y c a r i n e t o p a l ~ t o r r a n c e , c a l i f o r n i a
HE STEPPED off the cloud without luggage. He joined his younger brother, waiting for him, standing between the rain. I have been living close to the weather, the young boy said. Meanwhile, planets moved back and forth casting shadows like cumulus trees on great cloud caps.
The boys could see inside the rainmaker; see how possible it was for matter to yield to matter. Regardless of seasons they would never suffer in the rain or need a new pair of shoes. The younger boy told his brother, the one who had just stepped off the cloud, he told him, Here's a list of things I forgot about: mother's radish salad, Nikka and Bill, the house on Austin Street, Cadillac Mountain, night fishing. The brothers waited a long time before walking off into the sky. Six years had passed since they had called one another by name. They stood breath-close, and you could tell how glad they were. They held hands as they never had when they had lived. Names of their daughters were breathed: Michelle, Rachel, Alexandra; smoke and mist pressed in around them. A sister was mentioned once or twice. And the younger boy asked, How tall is my daughter? Does she still look like me?
Mother and daddy became a pair of lunging stars, hoping to visit. On any given day both boys could see them, fleeing wild and sad. The older boy bowed his head toward the earth's iron and dust, as the watchful moon does to its planet. And the boy said, Give them some sun; hope from the vapor of our mouths.
*Title borrowed from a quote by Michael Ondaatje
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