When the Moon Was Lonely

Copyright by Beth Kevles, 1996. Text may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of the author.

It's 9:00. Keisha climbs into bed. Granny tucks the covers around her and turns out the lights. Then Granny goes off to watch T.V.

But Keisha's not all alone. Her friend, the moon, is waiting for her. Keisha looks at the moon through her window. ``Hiya, Moon!'' she says. The moon looks back at Keisha.

Keisha turns her head just a little bit until the moon is hidden by the curtain. And then, ``Boo!'' She turns her head the other way so the moon can see her again.

Tonight the moon hides, too. It hides behind a cloud, and then comes back again. Every night, Keisha and the moon play hide and seek until Keisha falls asleep.

Some nights the moon is round and large. When it's as round and as large as Granny it goes on a diet until it's skinny, skinny, skinny, and Keisha can't see it at all. Tonight the moon is round and large.

Every night Keisha and the moon play together until one day Keisha gets sick. Her throat hurts and hurts and Keisha can't talk. She can't even say ``Hiya, Moon!'' When the moon looks in that night Keisha is already asleep. Night after night, Keisha is always asleep. She won't play.

Keisha seems to be sick for a long time. When she first gets sick, the moon is big and fat, hiding her bulk behind clouds. But the moon gets lonely. It misses Keisha. The moon looks around for someone who will play hide and seek. The moon looks in the window at Granny, but Granny is watching T.V. Granny won't play with the moon.

The moon looks into Keisha's room again, but Keisha is still asleep. So the moon goes off to look for a new playmate.

Keisha gets better again. She looks out the window to say hello to the moon. The moon isn't there, though. Maybe, Keisha thinks, the moon is skinny right now, skinnier than ever.

The next night the moon still isn't there. Keisha looks for it before she goes to bed. She looks out the kitchen window, but the moon isn't there.

She looks in the closet. The moon isn't there, either.

All around the world, people are looking for the moon.

Off the coast of Australia a beached ship waits for the tide to come in so it can sail away again.

Keisha looks in the sky between the streetlamps. No moon.

At the head of the Bumps River in Cape Cod a band of fiddler crabs plays and plays, waiting for the tide to rise and end the dance.

Keisha shuts her eyes tight and puts her hands over her face. She spreads her fingers apart and peeks out. No moon.

In the Mojave desert a woman from San Salvador waits for a cool nighttime, with the moon to light her way, to travel northwards to omeplace where she won't have to be scared.

Keisha asks her Granny, ``Have you seen the moon?'' ``No, dear,'' says Granny, ``There's no moon tonight.''

In Sing SIng prison, a mean thief escapes, hidden from sight in the moonless night.

``Hey, clouds,'' says Keisha, ``is my friend the moon hiding behind you?'' ``We won't tell,'' whisper the clouds.

In the Yukon Territory a coyote sits without singing. There is no moon to hear his song.

Keisha shouts out the window, ``Moon, Moon? Where are you?'' Keisha shouts out the window, ``Moon, Moon? I miss you!'' Keisah shouts out the window, ``Moon, Moom? Please come back! I didn't forget you, really!''

The moon hears Keisha calling. Slowly, the moon peeks out from behind a cloud. She's sort of skinny right now, and dressed in a beautiful white.

Keisha smiles out the window. ``Moon, I was sick, and I couldn't say hiya to you. I'm better now. I'm sorry you were lonely.''

Grandma comes to tuck Keisha in and turn out the light. ``Hiya, Moon,'' says Keisha. ``Sleep tight, now.''

Far away, a ship sets out to sea again.

A band of fiddler crabs goes home.

A woman from San Salvador walks north, smiling.

A mean thief is caught and returned to prison.

And far away, a coyote sings.