by Bernie Mojzes
Tonight she has chosen to shine brightly, to dim the stars with her glory, but she is instead red and swollen, climbing slowly with dark fingers until she can peek over the tops of trees at the village that does not yet sleep, watching enviously as it glitters softly in the darkness with its own internal lights, shining through windows and cast from street lamps, sliding softly down streets and highways.
While she stays here, she knows at least that she's noticed, that a few people look at her and smile, look at her and hold their lovers close, look at her and think her beautiful. But it cannot last--her fingers, entwined in branches, lose their grip and she slips (every night she slips) free of the trees, feels her color fade and pale into insignificance.
She knows only too well that she'll never shine like her brother, or even like her distant cousins. The best she can do is take other's light and recast it. So she continues to climb, seeking more light.
Her (dark) fingers scrabble for a hold when she realizes what is happening, but they slip through cold mist, and as clouds obscure her view of the village, she realizes that they also obscure the villager's view of her.
There's no hurrying now, try as she might. Her fingers can find no purchase in the clouds' misty tendrils as she races to find the other side.
At last! At last she escapes, a wind from the west driving the clouds from beneath her as she descends on the far side of the darkened village. But none are still awake to see her, though she watches for friendly faces. Not one looks for her, not one looks at her and thinks her beautiful, and as a few lights in the village flicker into life, her brother casts his light across the horizon and she feels herself fade even more.
Perhaps tomorrow, she thinks, but she knows, tomorrow she will be thinner, smaller, paler. Tomorrow a shadow will be cast on her face, and a shadow dark as her fingers will consume her until she gone.