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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Jo Balistreri

On the Cusp

An eerie beam breaks through the bedroom window and jolts me awake at 2 am. The hair on my arms stands on end. Petrified, I don’t dare move, but finally my need to know is stronger than the fear. Rising, I move with care to a small window, see nothing but fog and clouds. I decide to go outside to the deck. It feels like something rides on the hem of my nightgown, swishing behind me. I stumble outside.

There’s nothing to see but a shroud of grey clouds, air clingy like a large furry animal. Edgy, I scan the far fringes of the yard and see a flickering shoreline. Could it be fireflies? But no…it’s bigger…brighter.

With binoculars, I watch the moon slide out from the clouds. Looking down at the lake, it’s hard to believe. The entire lake leaps and falls, springs and dips. Shapes coalesce, break apart – carp? Carp! I scan the sky, the lake, back and forth. Is it possible?

Carp cavorting under a crescent moon? Camouflaged by clouds?

For the second time tonight, I do not move. My body feels electric. The privilege. The miracle of it – fish jumping, fish made of nothing but moonlight’s sequins. No ominous ghosts here, only the moon’s chiffon touch guiding me to this gurgle and splash, this mating dance of fish in the liquid sheets of the lake.

origami unfolding a crane and me