in eighth grade, I had a science teacher who taught us the phases of the moon. he taught us other stuff too, like physics and friction and gravity and velocity and why it snows more on one side of the mountain than the other. he taught us all sorts of things, but I only ever remembered the moon. I knew that it looked like a “D” when it was growing and a “C” when it was shrinking. the moon set the alphabet backwards. waxing waning crescent gibbous words that flowed over my tongue and straight to the memory crescent slivers over campfire flickers and a mirror lake full moon reflection. the moon is hard to forget. that teacher followed us to high school and one day there was a solar eclipse and we gathered outside not not looking at the sky. he approached me and asked if I remembered why eclipses happen. I didn’t. I looked instead at the half-moon leaf shadows the eclipse made on the ground. like a waxing gibbous, I said, pointing at the dancing shadows. he smiled, a little sad. in college now I go for a bike ride near my childhood home where my life has been put on pause. the sun has already set the sky went from orange to pink and now, blue again, like the day needed one last look. the deer have gathered in the field. the wheatgrass looks like moonlight. I look up, and there, tucked in among the blue-grey sky. fingernail moon. waning crescent. just a sliver of wheatgrass.
by Brennecke Gale