The night after Kasey's funeral I tried to shoot off the first rocket. I'd found a whole pack of them in her little shed, still wrapped in plastic. She loved fireworks when we were kids—the white-bright weeping willow kind, the electric blue screamers. The heart thump when the Lion's Club misjudged an angle and a starburst exploded just a little too close to the soccer field behind the high school. Half the town on their backs, ratty blankets or lawn chairs or just the cool damp of the green summer grass tickling their skin, their faces kissed by ash.
My fingers were still greasy from scooping a glob of Aunt Gin's mac-and-cheese casserole into a sandwich baggie when I tried to tie it to the first rocket with string and rubber bands from Kasey's junk drawer. I had little baggies of bridge mix and ranch dip and Aunt Pat's chocolate pie lined up. I secured the mac-and-cheese but even that two fingers-full made the rocket too heavy to lift off. It just tipped over, shooting sparks onto the lawn and scorching little holes in my sweatpants. Some of the embers made it through to my shins. Little pinpricks to remind me I was still here.
Mom always said we were moon women. We felt the pull of the moon's gravity more intensely than others. She said that's why we needed our girls' weekends at the Jersey Shore. The tides of our blood pulled in time with the ocean's. She also said that's why we all got our periods with the full moon. Why we were our own little blood coven.
I tied the baggie with the scoop of chocolate pie to the next rocket. Just a spoonful of mousse and whipped cream, no crust. Aunt Pat prided herself on the lightness of her pie. This one took off, wobbling at first, then straightening, focusing. It looked like it was heading straight to the moon.
BIO: Meghan Phillips is the fiction editor for Third Point Press and an associate editor for SmokeLong Quarterly. You can find her in real life in libraries around Lancaster, PA, and on Twitter @mcarphil.