Sometimes she couldn't believe her mother; she could go from telling stories of when she was a little girl in a farmhouse on the Canadian plain and of May crownings and the Virgin Mary dressed in blue to telling you way too much more than you ever wanted to know about getting felt up on some amusement park ride and having sex in trailers. It was all too strange for a women who wore tailored linen suits and bare legs in January.
Yet she was a mom and when you needed her she was there.
She never needed her more than when the boy floated up along the shore outside their house.
One story her mother used to tell her still confused her. There was a Chinese poet named Li Po who fell in love with the moon's reflection on his way home in a boat after a night of drinking plum wine. He stood up in the rocking boat and the stars spun as he reached out to embrace her, to embrace the moon, and, dizzy from the wine and the stars and the moon, he fell in and drowned.
It was supposedly a true story.
But what confused her was something she remembered about a movie made by a German lady where a man falls into the earth and which her mom had thought of out of nowhere another time when she told the story of Li Po. That second time he was called Li Bo, B like boy, and he really didn't drown for love of the moon but died in some relatives house where he had gone because he had no money and no one to love him except the moon.
There was an image of the sky inside the ebony water, a scoop of blue and tufts of feathery white, the reflection floating there like a damp photograph. She was startled to see the surface of the moon, as real as flesh, exactly in the patch of blue where the photograph floated.