The Story of the Moon

From The Mauve Issue

Taraneh Mosadegh

Once, night, unchallenged, extended its dark grace
across the sky. To the credit of the town, the stars
at night had been enough, though sometimes
the townspeople went about bumping their heads
in sleep. Eventually, three brothers, traveling through
a foreign town, found an evening that did not
disappear behind the mountains, for a shining globe
sat in an oak tree. The brothers stopped. That one
is the moon, said a man from the foreign town.
The brothers conferred. They could make certain use
of it. The brothers stole the moon down and put it
in their wagon. Seized it. Thieved its silver. Altogether
greedy. The wagon shining bright. At home:
the moon delivered. Then, celebration: dancing in red
coats on the meadow. Number four brother smiling
wide. The moon installed—it extended its silver
calculations. Time and more time. The brothers aged,
took sick, petitioned the town that each quarter
of the moon, as it was their property, be portioned out
to share their graves. Done, and the light of the moon
diminished in fractions. They had extinguished it,
part for part, and night, unimpeded, fell. Altogether
lanternless. The people were silent. The dark rang loud.
Underground: cold blazing. The dead woke, shivering
in the light. Some went out to play and dance,
others hastened to the taverns to drink, quarrel,
and brawl. Noise and more noise. Noise up to heaven.
Saint Peter took his red horse through the gates
and came down. The moon, for the third time, taken.
The dead bidden back into their graves. One wonders
why a story like this exists.