Tara Isabel Zambrano
When I was strolling outside that night, sleepless, the moon rolled down the hills and cracked open in the flat terrain between my home and the tree line. Rocks and baby moons embedded inside the sharp-edged slabs, cold and hard like glass. The night buzzed with loud insects and rustling leaves, a dog howled in distance. I picked a chunk—the size of a melon but twice as heavy as a bowling ball. Struggling to hold it, I stumbled back home and planted it in the yard, the air around smelling of wet wood. When I raised my head, up in the darkness, two stars blinked.
Later, I dreamt of the moonplant blooming, its sap rich and sticky as blood, its shimmering roots extending to the world’s corners and edges, an underground Milky Way. I woke after my parents had left for work, and flipped through the newspaper and TV channels, but neither mentioned the moon’s disappearance. I rehearsed telling my best friend Shayla: her face weighed down by homework and absence of an ex-boyfriend, suddenly curious, her lips squeaking with questions.
When I walked into the yard, the sky was cracked with jet streams. The moonplant was glowing, pieces of quartz dangling like fruits. Leaning in, I saw sparkling orbits of flying debris, tiny fireworks underneath its membrane. Living, flashing, dying.
I touched the surface and it peeled like burnt skin. My soles lightened, a flutter rose in my stomach like when Shayla whispered a secret into my ear for the first time. I floated above the fence line, higher than the seams of the farmland, looking for her home. “Shayla,” I called out, my voice sharp as a broken glass, my arms stretched as if I were hugging the entire planet, my body an incandescent, shining crescent shooting sparks into the stars.
Tara Isabel Zambrano’s “Up and Up” and “Uncouple” in the print edition of The Arkansas International 6.
Tara Isabel Zambrano works as a semiconductor chip designer in a startup. Her work has been published in Tin House Online, The Southampton Review, SLICE, Bat City Review, Yemassee, and others. She is Assistant Flash Fiction Editor at Newfound.org and reads prose for The Common. Tara moved from India to the United States two decades ago and holds an instrument rating for single engine aircraft. She lives in Texas.