Celestial Body

This entry is part 11 of 22 in the series Alternate Histories


It was a small moon, scarcely bigger than a thumb. It rose from its nest in the branches of a birch like an bird’s egg that had decided to skip hatching and go straight to flight. It wore a stripe of sunlight thin as the edge of a feather, but as the nights passed it drew more and more of this disguise down over itself until the whole thing blazed like a burglar’s torch. What a ludicrous sight! Poets everywhere ground their teeth at this violation of their beloved darkness, until they noticed how much darker the shadows had grown — and how the moonlight turned everything it touched to silver. A lover’s still face could pass for a statue, & it seemed suddenly conceivable that love itself might outlast the simple satisfaction of desire & take on the trappings of eternity. The small moon was now discovered to be enormous, but very far away. We would have to invent space flight to reach it. We’d have to leave bootprints on its smooth cheek that would last for a million years.

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5 Replies to “Celestial Body”

  1. Fantastic. I love it. Thank you for creating this beautifully wrought thing. Yes. Like everyone must, I’ve mixed emotions about the night sky, sometimes wanting to sleep with it, sometime wanting to hide from its sight.

  2. Thanks, y’all. I’m so glad this resonated with you. It’s hard to write anything interesting about the moon after all these centuries of hoary poetic tradition…

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