The shining town

Shining under the blazing sun like a lighthouse in the farness

Built of so light a stone it can float on water

When the season of rains brings all the rivers to these lowlands

Covering the barren rock with water and fish and life

 

A town inhabited by a people who wanders across the lowlands

Mining the rock underneath and extracting the precious stone when all the water is gone by summertime

Lighting fire pits all around the failed ship in the dazzling heat

Dark plumes reaching the sky while the stone melts

Vegetables grown in the north shadow of the buildings

And cactus on their flat rooftops

And hens running in little enclosures

Fortunately the stone does not absorb the heat

It remains almost cool to the touch and does not burn their bare feet

 

Traveling the wide lake as the winter returns

And exchanging goods with the towns built on the mainland

Moving from port to port

Stopping by fishermen villages and sprawling cities alike

Selling the strange stone and buying wheat and acorn and spices and clothes

 

It is a stone that bears many names

Depending on the way it is extracted, processed

Its most fulfilled shape is the notorious moonstone

To exist in that form it must be picked up on full moon nights of the dry season

These nights are festival times in the shining town

Like harvest times on the mainland

All the people gather around the pits

Singing and dancing round the stone that will become moonlike

Cactus liquor mixed with fresh water is served

And little by little the brightness of the stone aligns on that of the moon

Dazzlingly white when it is full

And entirely dark when it wanes and disappears