They tell me I’m a new moon, but there’s nothing new about me. They say I have power, that we’re powerful, when we’re all aligned as we are in this moment. But I feel no strength in the sloping curves of my body, and there’s nothing robust about my slow pilgrimage round and round and round my brother. I simply follow him, fixated on a single point without reason or understanding. I tumble through the sky with no beginning or end.
All the while, I feel my sister watching me. She holds her breath, waiting to see if I will say something worthwhile as we traverse across these inky skies. But I cannot see her. I only feel her heat radiating towards me, imprinting on all bodies, illuminated our surfaces with soft, coppery light. She says I belong to my brother.
A brother who only looks inward, obsessed with the quiet lisping of his waters and the glittering metals hidden within his mountains. Somehow, he rests at the center of my existence, dragging me along through dusty star fields like a pouting child, clinging to his legs.
He tells me that my strength pulses into him, pulling his tides in like a fisherman, tugging his nets. But I don’t feel it, any of it. And before this, I remember nothing. I only know that I’m held against his boundaries: a new and circling moon. They tell me nothing else.
As my shadow grows, I feel the stars pressing in on me. They watch from their vantage points, marking my path with fixed images that burn into my memory. My brother tells me they’ve been with me since the beginning. I keep quiet, pretending not to hear him although I’m more awake now than ever before. I’m sharper.
He turns away from me. I cling to the silence between us, but the sound still rises. Everything waxing.
I hear their prayers as they chase after me, tirelessly rushing along the waters while their boats rise with the tide. Their pleading haunts me, but I can’t do anything about it. Instead, my body inflates with their begging. Trembling prayers of fertility and harvest and navigation fill me. I am ripe with their worship.
My sister tells me to accept this praise.
“Let it adorn you like jewelry. Let it fill you. The same way I fill the skies with light.”
But I blanch at the idea of swelling to her volume. Her heat suffocates. And my light is only borrowed.
I can’t stop following-chasing-shuffling behind him. And I don’t know where we’re going, my brother and I, as we carve this path across the sky. I ask my brother about this as I trail him, unable to stop my words or body. He only tells me that we continue, as we always have, and that I won’t know him when I wake.
“You’ll have no memory.”
But I’ll be new again. An empty vessel. He tells me that my birthright is to repeat this cycle each month. I ask him what a month is.
“It’s a measurement of time.”
I ask him what time is. He sighs and looks away, as if my questions are too much. I recede into the safety of the darkness, contemplating whether this fate brings me freedom or if in the end, it only makes me a slave.
Either way, I am powerless. And in this moment of clarity, I understand that they’ve trapped me. That my body is only a husk. And now, I feel myself disappearing. My breath rises and falls. It becomes the only sound in the universe. It rises and my heart falls. I try to rise again. I only fall.
I become a new moon.