Jordan Rice
He says I live far-far away as we build a robot
out of blocks. The heart's a dollar music box
he chose on his last birthday wringing every
handle for the song about a star. This year
a star ornament dashed all colors by an artist
the summer he was born. We hung it by
his window like the star he sings about at night.
It's not a star that fell inward long ago as its light
fled out. Every troubled night that first year
of his life I held him on my chest and called
his name into his sleep until he calmed
enough to watch the moon arc past the blinds
above us. Do you have two hearts
because you're a boy and a girl? You're a girl
but you're my dad and not and then he says
his mother’s partner’s name. Nothing changes
until it must I told myself when I lay down
on the surgeon’s table. Drowsy now he sings
again about the star which is a song about
a traveler grateful for the light to chart a course. 

Related Poems

Lullaby (with Exit Sign)

I slept with all four hooves
                       in the air or I slept like a snail

            in my broken shell.

The periphery of the world
                       dissolved. A giant exit sign

            blinking above my head.

My family sings
                       its death march.

            They are the size of the moon.

No, they are the size
                       of thumbtacks punched

            through the sky’s eyelid.

What beauty, what bruise.

                       What strange lullaby is this
            that sings from its wound?)

Here, my dead father knocks

                       on a little paper door. Here,
            my family knocks, waits.

Come through me, my darlings,

                       whatever you are: flame,
            lampshade, soap.

Leave your shattered shadows

                       behind. I’ll be the doorway
            that watches you go.