Moon Haunt by Julia Paganelli Marín
Editor-in-chief Jennifer A. Howard on today’s bonus story: By now you’ve either joined the cult of the moonmoon or you’ve upended a table in righteous anger that you are not the poet hired to name planetary objects. But how about one better, one step more enchanting than moonmoons, in this tiny story from Julia Paganelli Marín: moon ghosts. You heard me. You’re welcome.
After decades of space drift, the moon’s ghost renames itself Santa Barbara. I am a wicked, rock and roll ghost, chants the moon’s apparition when it meditates and to pass the time. Now the mo—, pardon, Santa Barbara, has nothing but an itch on its back where there may have once been some small footprints. The apparition once called the moon and now called Santa Barbara drifts through Neptune and Jupiter and whispers in its ghost-breath the name of each of their moons, nods at Pluto as it passes, and drifts on. A hop and a skip away the moon drifts into orbit around the hips of another moon, roughly its old size, a young one, with no access to language yet. At first Santa Barbara teases the new moon, practices a kind of possession, conveys what it means through the planet’s daily horoscope chart, its rising and water signs. Now is the time for rebirth. Reimagine yourself sleeker, with more gravity. Sappho crosses Beyoncé on the northern horizon.
Even though Santa Barbara doesn’t miss us, it finds familiar names comforting, a dream it once had that now informs its waking. Santa Barbara could credit us in part for its new form, for the way ESP readers beep like crazy when it passes through a star system.
Julia Paganelli Marín is the poetry editor for Up North Lit. In addition to her chapbook, Blush Less (Finishing Line Press 2015), her poems are published or forthcoming in BOAAT Journal, The Comstock Review, Hobart, The Madison Review, and more.