The Silver Apples of the Moon
by W. Silverwood
The moonlight is young and pale. White-gold and glittering. Her eyes are the silver of it. Molten metal. Silver in the silvery light. Her flesh is moon-white. Her feet are bare.
She stands before me.
We are in a clearing in the woods. Perhaps she is surprised to see me there, an interloper, stumbled into her home. But if she is surprised she doesn’t show it. She tends the fire and the pot that bubbles upon it. She stirs her pot and mumbles something into the moonlight.
Our eyes meet. She laughs and the sound is liquid. Her hair is full of apple blossom. She blossoms as a strange moonflower and golden.
Under the cool moonlight, I chase her through the woods. I follow her along a path of white stones in the soft darkness. Girl-child. Maiden. I don’t know why I chase her, except that she seems to want me to. She is laughing, laughing. And each time I lose sight of her, I hear again her silver laughter. I find her slender body hid behind the trunk of a tree, where she has led me. I bend to kiss her, but she runs, laughs, and our dance begins again. Round and round we go until I am near dizzy with desire and joy. And so she leads me, back to the clearing. We sit on a fallen log together and I put my arm around her. She stretches out her long bare legs and our kiss tastes of apples and of honey. And we lie together beside the fallen log; a mossy bed for our love.
I wake and she is gone.
She will let me know where to find her.
I return and she is older.
In the centre of the clearing she has built a fire and a large cauldron rests over it. She chants into the cauldron and she dances. The moonlight glancing on her curves. She is a woman of full age and maturity, confident in her being. She knows I am there, watching her. She lets me watch.
She is a mother-to-be; her belly prominent and full-round to bursting. I hesitate to touch her but she holds out her hand for me and we embrace. It is my child, my moon child and we are family together as we make love under the whiteness of moon and semen, and the sweat that glistens on our skins.
There is a blanket beside the fire and I lay down, for the night is cooler now and the late summer has brought a chill to the air; the promise of winter.
The moon is huge, round and swollen. Milk-white light. Its light is the soft light of sleep. She stirs a cauldron of dreams.
She is old when I come again. An ancient withered hag. Her skin is that papery tautness of a woman so old she is pale as paper moon. Her eyes, though, are sharpness and insight. She has not lost her intensity or her intelligence. She is wisdom. She can no longer dance, but she sits against the trunk of a tree. Her fire burns and her cauldron still bubbles. She tells stories and she weaves moon-white wool. I sit and talk with her.
The time comes for our love but I cannot get excited for her and she laughs at me. She picks up a knife she has been using for her weave-work. She whittles a stick with long, sharp strokes. I feel the slicing pain in my own person. I cry out but I am glad. She is marking me, preserving me as her own. She comforts me in my pain and I begin to feel small and child-like.
Our time is up.
Finally, I take her in my arms and I hold her. She dies in my arms.
When she comes back, she will be a girl again. My own moon girl.
I look for her still, the only woman in the world for me. For I can have no other woman now that I am marked. And nor should I want any, for I am hers and she is mine. She is my daughter, my mother, my wife. My only one.
She is absence, invisible as the new moon. Without her there is just a kind of hollowness. It is a feeling that I understand to be loss. I will continue to look for her, for I believe that one day I will find her again. But until then I have hope as each time I walk the woods to that magical place, that enchanted glade. And each full moon, the light guides me there. One day I will lie down in the glade and go to her, go with her wherever she has gone.
But today, as I stand on the edge of the glade, I see only a large white hare cavorting in the moonlight. Its white fur is faintly luminous in the ethereal glow. It looks at me, and its shining eyes are silver.
The moonlight is young and pale.
Issue #4 Contents
Bed and Breakfast
The Silver Apples of the Moon
C Was for Cat
Jack Campbell, Jr.
Skin, Before and After Packaging
The Turning of the Worm
Brian Douglas Moakley