My Mother was Neptune

by Chrys Tobey

I’m not sure if she was always a planet
far off in our solar system, farthest from the sun,
made of ice and rock – or if it happened the year
I was born, the year the great blizzard swept through.
Teachers would hang planets from strings, and I’d think,
There’s my mother as Neptune hovered over me like a blue eye.
I’d put on my tinfoil spacesuit and eat astronaut ice cream,
or I’d bounce up and down with my astronaut bubblehead.
I carried around a blanket, knowing it was cold
where she was. Sometimes I’d get close
and a cool gust of wind would blow me back.
When I was twelve, scientists sent their spacecraft to her.
As it circled, she simply stared off at her surrounding moons,
remembering how she was once thought to be luminous.

 

Chrys Tobey teaches college writing in Portland, Oregon.  Her work has appeared in many literary journals, most recently Smartish Pace and Word Riot.  She has a fondness for goats.

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