One winter when trees shed their ashen

leaves and turn to blackest veins, he begs

to see the big rock. It’s not far but his toddler

feet fumble with the new weight of snow boots.

Trying to worm his wriggling thumb

through the slender nub of a mitten is like

needle point. Once at the great gray rock,

he spots a flock of geese migrating and

barks at the sky—sounds like a dog, he says.

I hoist him up, mothering through the edges

of a budding migraine as he sits, clapping.

Having mounted the immovable beast, he

is triumphant.

Limbs of oak creek noisily, spread over

sharp blue sky like capillaries behind the

translucence of his eyelids and I catch him

eyeing the pink of the sun, setting.

Moony moony and the stars, he sings,

go see ‘em? And begins to shimmy down

the rock’s wild haunches. When I ask what

he’d like to tell the moon, he smiles

and says, simply, stegosaurus.

Jess L Parker

Jess L Parker is a poet and strategist from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Jess lives in Fitchburg, WI with her husband and two-year-old son. Her debut poetry collection, Star Things, won the 2020 Dynamo Verlag Book Prize. Jess’ poems have appeared in Bramble, Kosmos Quarterly, Blue Heron Review, and elsewhere. Jess holds a BA of English and Spanish from Northern Michigan University, an MA of Spanish Literature from UW-Madison, and an MBA.

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