Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Moon Hunters

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I.

Above the moonlit street, wind-tossed treetops
writhe. Sea anemones. The boy clings tight.
"I’m scared, mom," he whispers. "Don’t fear, my love.
It’s just drowning and night." The wind picks up,
sheers. The moon dribbles a bright crescent through
the branches’ net weave. Tangled, it tosses.
Impaled, it bleeds. "Will it rain?" the boy asks,
tightening his grip as they advance through
shadows, which, silver-splattered, like red blood
in water, leave no trace. Her boots leave no print
behind. "Yes, it is raining. Can’t you feel
them? Leaves." A wind blast propels them downhill.
A shower of leaves on their faces like
fins. All the neighborhood is whipped now, flung.
The wind, as tide, crashes, recedes—a lull.
Her steps. The stars’ spangled countenance. Their
depth. The moon, a wounded thing, in its dark
branch net. On her neck, the warmth of his breath.
On her shoulder, his head sleep immersing . . .

II.

Suddenly, his eyes in the dark are wide.
"I hear them," he says. "Moon hunters," she gasps.
"Come to grapple the moon from the net where
it’s trapped." "They’ll roast him alive!" he cries out.
To their left, a fire ignites. Yellow, green,
red, the autumn oak burns, lit from below
by a peaked cone of light. The lamp’s glow, like
a secret, deepens the dark that keeps it,
a black husk’s vivid inside. They stop. "Keep
going!" he shouts. The netted moon tosses
like a mad thing; like a giant thrashes,
bleeding broad spatters onto the street. They’re
drenched, moving slowly toward the safety
of home. The lamp glow squirms up each branch
like a blight. The hunters close. "Can we save
it?" the boy asks. "No, my love. Once it’s bled
out, they’ll have it." The boy sighs. "Let’s go in."
Porch light rinses them of fancy and moon
blood. Clouds, the immersing crescent, and wind.


Kerri Pierce is a writer, literary translator, and mother of two living in Rochester, New York. She holds a PhD in comparative literature and has translated works from eight languages. Her short translations have appeared, among other places, in The New Yorker and World Literature Today. She is currently focusing on completing her first novel and chasing after children under age five.


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