“Jupiter” poem by Karen Hugdahl Meyer


poem by Karen Hugdahl Meyer

A boy dreams of outer space
makes a rocket ship from a cardboard box.
He is a small planet orbiting his sister—
the sun at the centre of his universe.
He asks how to spell Jupiter.
She sounds the “J” j-j-jutting out her jaw
draws a hook in the air with her pinkie.

He asks what’s next.
She says, Oooooo.

On the paper, the word: JOPabR
beside this in thick felt markers a yellow circle with
long hairy legs of sunlight
and a small boy-man
grass for hair
a single dot of a nose
an upturned cantaloupe rind for the mouth.

He asks what country his sister is from,
as though we are, each one of us, separate
planets, other worlds temporarily
taking up space
strange countries with
unknowable interiors. The lot of us—
weightless on this journey
this zigzagging path.

One day he will write his own signature
grow tall, grow body hair
his orbit will grow in circumference
his path will spin him
far away from me.