How the World Was Made

The Woman Who Mistook the Sun for the Moon

Figures inside the factory lift seventy pound squares of butter onto a conveyor belt. A machine of whirling blades cuts the butter into sticks. Every hour the machines are shut down so the operators can change wrappers. Same butter, different brands.

First smoke-break: A parking lot full of cars. Curled barbed wire. The black husks of old milkweed pods next to green ones. No one speaks.

Second smoke-break: Natalie talks about the eyes of a deer she almost hit on her way to work. The cliché: Caught in the headlights, unable to move. Years ago, someone at a party once told me that gravity was the origin of love: Particles speeding across the cosmos towards each other. I don't know about the origin of love, but I think I may have found the origin of gravity.

Third smoke-break: Dolly points at the rising sun — a gray ball through gray haze — and says: "I didn't know the moon was full." I tell her it's the sun. "No, silly" she says, "that's the moon." And for a split second I can't tell whether it's sun or moon.

number 20 in the 2River Chapbook Series