“Your father arrives with the moon” my mother says as she turns to look in from the balcony. I am in her bedroom, watching her through the glass door and the adjacent screen door. I lay on the edge of her bed, on my stomach, arms stretched out before me, reaching over the open air, over her sheets and blankets, as if I am sliding on my belly down a hill. My legs kick the air behind me, bracelets rattling up and down my ankles, shiny silver slivers, yellow and red round beads. She looks in at me and her eyes- light blue, the color of winter air- are clear direct blue, even through the glow from the dim streetlights outside, her candles inside and the dark all around us.
Its hot, a deep moisture type of hot, and I can only wear a white t-shirt and a long forgotten swim suit bottom from the depths of a drawer, and still I sweat through into her sheets, round damp circles of young breasts and narrow thin thighs. The breeze is slow, and my mother’s cigarette smoke whispers in through the sliding door, mixing with the slow heat, and the ripe smell of the summer night, ribbons of smoke that trace and lace around my open and outstretched arms. We listen to jazz- quiet jazz, she plays it so quiet it’s hard to really hear. In fact, it is hardly there at all, just a note, a hummingbird, a whistle, interlaced with the neighbor’s dog barking.
“When the moon is full, always be ready.” She continues staring through me, “He’ll come when it’s tiny and thin, or not in the sky at all.” I have heard this before, but still cannot see a pattern. It’s been many moons since he has been here, but she speaks as if she can see him from where she stands on the balcony, stepping along the side of the road, stopping and looking right back up at her between the leaves and the golden tension of early fall, that small space between alive and dead. I get up and go to stand next to her, again, just to check, and as always there is no one standing below us. The moon is round, and glows gloomy through the night’s heat, hanging smugly above my mother’s head, as if it can hear her speak.
My mother wears a long linen dress, the color of sand. It ties behind her neck in one loose, simple knot, and she wears nothing else. I stand next to her and she leans against me, rests on the top of my back, lays her head and her hair trails down me all the way to my hips. She spins the thick ring she wears around her thumb and inhales still more smoke, and blows it out, past my face, it becomes diluted with easy air as it goes down the street, past where my father doesn’t stand.