The Moon-Reading God Tsukuyomi Fails to Read His Wife

     Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto thought that his sister-wife would value cleanliness more. Their father had washed the both of them into existence from his eyes after all, he from the left, she from the right; but ah, they were already placed on opposite sides from the very beginning weren’t they, but still, that didn’t mean he should be banished just for valuing cleanliness so.

            “The food she offered had been expelled from her mouth, nose and genitals,” he tried reasoning with his wife. “Her rectum, even. She deserved the sword.”

            That did not garner the expected reaction. His wife had frowned, turning away in disgust, disappointment, perhaps boredom, Tsukuyomi didn’t know, but the one thing he was sure of was that she was turning away from him not at what he had just said.

            It was the last time he would ever face her. Their chase would begin the next day after he was expelled from the heavenly realms, the moon forever playing catch-up with the sun.

            Tsukuyomi called after his wife’s back, trying desperately to reason with her.

            “It was dirty,” he said. “Filth. Expelled from mouth, genitals and rectum. Would you have placed your own mouth, divine and perfect, you who painted the world into creation, anywhere near such excretions?”

            And as he chased her across the sky and his weary feet across the celestial firmament wheeled the days and nights into being, the farmer-mortals sweated under the sun and into the crops they would turn into food, thick with satisfaction at their labour; They caressed each other’s arms in the cover of night blanketed by cicada song, redolent with the stink of the day.

            Tsukuyomi thought to himself:

            In a different elsewhere, perhaps she would have agreed, agreed that the food excreted (and vomited and hacked up) from the goddess Uke Mochi had not been fit for their table and relented to his advice. Husband knows best, she would say while leaning against his arm and looking up at him through her lashes. What do I know of such things? We deserve a better feast.

            In a different, different elsewhere perhaps he would have revelled in the filthy materiality of it, the abjectness and excess. He would not have minded putting his own mouth anywhere near mouth, genitals or rectum.

            Tsukuyomi is making his wife sing, the mortals would say with smiles upon their faces, on days when the wind was crisp with the promise of rain, a downpour that would bring relief from the stickiness of the sun and wash away the accumulated dust and grit of the land, when the moon was uncannily bright and magnificent in the sky. His wife is pleased and the crops will be plentiful.

            It would be taken up by the nobles in the courts who practiced the art of moon gazing, veiling their secretive smiles behind scented fans, coyly sneaking looks at each other when they weren’t looking up and speaking of the moon-reading god. Ah, no, he isn’t reading the moon today. He is scribing his heartsong in the bedroom.

            Again, and again, his name would have been spoken of, from low farmhand to elevated imperial, weaving itself into the fabric of everyday life instead of being shunted into the margins of history.

            A good omen and blessing, people all across the land would sigh, Tsukuyomi is making his wife sing tonight.

Lia Binte Sidin

About Lia Binte Sidin

Lia grew up in Singapore for most of her life but now works as a teacher in a small out-of-the-way town in Japan. When she is not busy wrangling her mountain kids, she spends most of her time trying to pet aloof cats in the area or reading. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in Augur Magazine, Short Fiction and QLRS. She can be reached via email at [email protected]

Lia grew up in Singapore for most of her life but now works as a teacher in a small out-of-the-way town in Japan. When she is not busy wrangling her mountain kids, she spends most of her time trying to pet aloof cats in the area or reading. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in Augur Magazine, Short Fiction and QLRS. She can be reached via email at [email protected]

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