04. The Moon

And the moon disappeared. A timid, golden-colored trail, a dull thud and the Eye of the Night, suddenly, shut.

The wood of Pratonero. Dozens of lovers, their hearts in turmoil, ran breathlessly toward the place of the fall, followed closely by a couple of upset voyeurs who had seen their hopes for the future shattered in an instant. Some nocturnal eel fishermen were slowly moving, a little behind, their torches extinguished in mourning. No one dared emit the slightest sound, the tragedy was such that no words existed to express it. A depression in the ground, a transparent cloud of dust still in mid-air, a pale luminescence that became gradually dimmer: the moon was dying.

Goodbye, patient sentinel of tender sighs between hearts in love.
Goodbye, fiery muse of impetuous serenades for a woman who will never be owned.
Goodbye, goodbye, Sister in the Night, tireless companion of solitary knights and damned souls.

The lost little men gathered in a circle around her. Gloomy tears streaked their faces and despair was the new watchword. The lovers held hands, hugged each other tightly, as if they had lost part of their love. The fishermen suffered in silence. The voyeurs kept watching.
A child stepped forward, anguish in his eyes; a tiny sling in one hand. He bent over the moon and caressed it, an instant before it vanished in the dark forever.
“I only wanted to play a joke on it,” he murmured.


[First written as “La luna” in 1995. Re-edited in 2018 with the help of Sonia Lombardo. Translated from the Italian by Sabrina Beretta and edited by Karen Rought in 2019.]
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