Listen to Paula Sergi read "Metamorphic" and "Star boy hears a song:"
Star boy hears a song
Maybe it’s the woodchuck
on his way across the deck
his claws click clicking
or the gray squirrel overhead
on the airing porch gathering
nuts and dropping them in rhythm.
Maybe it’s the downy
tapping on the maple’s
one dead arm.
Or the neighbor’s
garage door grinding out that tune
as it rises and falls,
another sound he can’t explain,
a rabbit caught at night out back,
the snapping of a chicken neck,
the music they call rock
as if an asteroid landed on the lawn
and spun itself thin, a compact disc,
gears out of tune, sound out of time
like railroad humming, passing cars,
clamber of Orion’s falling sword
through earth’s trees, lopping branches,
shouting Timber, stacking drumsticks,
notes piled outside star boy’s window.
Star boy believes that rocks are hardened star dust,
rejects the normal rock formation lore,
except metamorphic for the sound,
and how this rock became another kind.
How does one morph
he asks his mom. She doesn’t understand,
talks about how boys grow up
to become men. He wants
to change his name to metamorphic,
because asteroid sounds girly and
then people could call him morph or tam
for short. Never mind, tam sounds girly,
and Morph too much like Mort,
an old-fashioned name that
someone’s grandpa has. He could grow
into that like clothes that are too big
but doesn’t want to. Last year
he wanted Tyler, like the boy who sat
behind him, but he moved away. Skylar sounds close to the stars
or to the sky but that’s a girl, again.
He’s made an expedition to the creek
for stones and leaves them on his way
to school in case he can’t remember
his way home, which is ridiculous
he knows, but fun, imagines holding part
of the sky in his hands, once they are bigger.
Paula Sergi is the author of Family Business, a chapbook of original poems, and co-editor of three anthologies: Boomer Girls: Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation, Meditations on Hope, and A Call to Nursing. A Wisconsin Arts Board Artist Fellowship recipient, her poetry is widely published, including such journals as RATTLE, The Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.