He is Jupiter, the fifth planet, with a mass
318 times that of the earth.
He is soaked.
Even his socks are wet.
He is crying tears of great magnitude.
They are falling on the surface
Of his plaster planet like meteorites.
With a mass five times that of his son,
Sits in the dark,
Front row far right,
Where he can see the commotion,
Where he can see Miss Oullette’s panic,
Where he can see his son’s moons shaking.
Saturn comforts Jupiter in reedy silver voice.
Saturn is the sixth planet,
95 times the size of Earth,
Half the size of Michael.
Finally Mars sings Michael’s part
And the show goes on,
Saturn to Uranus to Neptune to Pluto.
Pluto is a first-grader
And that is the end of the play.
Michael and his father drive home,
Where his father helps him out of his costume.
Michael falls asleep shivering on the couch.
His father looks up the moons of Jupiter
And begins to recite them in the dark:
Adrastea, Amalthea, Ananke
He covers the boy with a blanket
Carme, Callisto, Europa,
Ganymede, Himalia, Sinope,
And sags into his chair
Thebe, Metis, Lysithea,
Pasiphae, Leda, Elara, Io,
And stares at the moon
Poor little Io
And falls asleep too.