Alkina opens wide one eye against the cold steel of her late husband’s telescope and remembers on a clear night, less than three months ago, Mare Fecunditatis, appearing so close she would have sworn water lay there. That morning he’d unfolded, as reverent as religion, the moon-map and pointed it out to her, before she’d ever put eye to glass.
“Almost 400,000 kilometres from Terra,” he said. He’d always talked Latin.
First quarter, full, and last quarter our tribe would sing up the moon, its coolness lighting the fires that danced about our bodies touched in earth paint. Connection to land as strong as sun, sky, day, night. On blue-day-moons, and in the starlit darkness playing to the gods seemed the only way to appease.
Alkina touches her stomach and knows that life is growing there rampant like weeds, widows’ weeds, she thinks hysterically.
“Barren, the moon, and yet look, the Sea of Fecundity, Mare Fecunditatis,” her husband said, before he’d hit her. Never wanted half-caste brats, he’d said. Then frown flickering, his eyes sweeping her into his contempt, like she and the moon were complicit. Although she never said she couldn’t fall.
She thought, fertile like a mare, but Mare was the Latin for sea. Just as Alkina was their name for the moon. And Terra? How far had he said it was?
She is Alkina. This one. The aunties chanted to the deep throated rumblings of the didgeridoo. Alkina. Alkina. Alkina.
She’d always wanted to follow her dreaming. Into the gold and green of their land. She has nothing to hold her back. Now that her husband has gone.
She looks down at her hands, remembers the red against the black. Red and Black like the title of that song from the musical she had watched on TV. That was an uprising too. She feels the flutter in her stomach, but not from guilt.
White, perhaps… this child. So many colours. Born of him but not to the way of him. She hopes.
Map unfolds. Her eyes travel over the Sea of Fecundity to the Sea of Tranquillity, she wonders if peace lies there.
Among many other publications, Myra King’s work has appeared in San Pedro River Review, The Times, Every Day Poets, Eclectic Flash, The Valley Review and Up The Staircase Quarterly. She has won the UK Global, the US Moon Prize and come second in the UK Cambridge short story competition. Myra has also been shortlisted for the US Glass Woman Prize and the Scarlet Stiletto Award in Australia, where she resides. Her poetry and fiction have been published by Puncher and Wattmann and Ginninderra Press.