‘The Cherry Tree’ by Lowell Uda
From The Common Review:
“The moon,” said Oscar, “is made of these petals. We’re going to make the moon fat again.”
He looked up at the crescent faintly visible in the afternoon sky. He led his two recently adopted children, Susie, four, and Billy, three, over broken branches and through wind-torn leaves. He knelt on the grass beneath the cherry tree to gather up the soft white cherry blossom petals. The early spring storm had blown them down too.
On the porch Meg, the children’s mother and his wife, sat on the hammock watching them. They called to her, inviting her to come and make the moon fat with them, but she declined, pleading morning sickness.
“See, how thin and pale the moon looks,” Oscar said. He lifted first Susie’s chin, then Billy’s, and he pointed to the ghostly crescent floating between the house and the maple trees that lined the street. He worked to fill two plastic freezer bags, one for his new daughter and one for his new son, with “flakes from the moon,” as he called the cherry blossom petals. But before he could get the bags full, the attention of three-year-old Billy began to wane. He wanted to go back into the house. Through the window behind Meg Oscar could see the television set glowing in the living room.
“Not yet,” said Oscar, snatching Billy up, his little body solid. He swung his son up into the air, so high up the moon was obstructed, and the boy squealed. He wanted to go higher, and Oscar swung him upward again, as if he wanted to toss that blond head out of this world and up onto the pale sliver haunting the afternoon sky. Susie had wrapped her arms around him, bracing her round, eager face at his belt buckle. He set Billy down in the grass and grabbed Susie, lifting her.