I Have Cradl-ed The Moon by Fadilah Ali
In my language, we called it “carrying the moon” if as a child, you kept the fast for the whole month. The adults took turns in blaming themselves for not sending you back to bed at sahur, blaming each other for letting you go on past noon, and blaming you for competing with the older kids. They enjoyed it, I’d wager, when they dished out corny advice. Make your intention (to go through the entire Ramadan) on the first day. Don’t drink so much water with your sahur meal, you’ll get very thirsty later. Why don’t you break your fast at twelve? You this girl, you’re too small to be fasting the whole day. Okay whatever.
The first time I carried the moon, I was nine.
When the adults asked me what it felt like to touch the full moon, I flattened my tongue, curved my lips into twin garlands of harmony and spoke in -eds. My belov-ed moon, cold at first sight, warm as a zephyr, made me feel quite ag-ed. But I had become learn-ed. I was nothing like the curs-ed little boys and girls whose faint resolve stretch-ed out a syzygy of moon, shameless lunch and them. People associated full moons with Ramadan. I associated the moon with bless-ed me.
The last time I ever carried the moon, I was thirteen.
My moon blanched the skin off my palms on a cool raining day. My moon floated to my face in zigzags, and wandered south. My moon depleted itself in me, trickling drop after drop after dawn. I choked on my words when the adults asked. I would never tell anyone that my moon was cold and heavy, that it was red, red, r-ed.