It seems strange after all this time

to style you “overly ornate”—

Wedgwood Paisley Toile Baroque,

with darker orange dimple

summoning beholders’ eyes

as might a Cubist model’s areolas,


but you brought it on yourself.

So much for centuries of agitprop

depicting you as warriorlike!

No—you’re Edwardian, effete,

Rococo, decorated to appease,

combative Saturn’s poodle-dog!


With your permission, might I

blow you up and make a poster

for our bathroom wall—

where bellicosity would be nocuous?

Is that offensive to your sensibilities,

or threat to masculinity?


Your name’s not really Jupiter?

You’re not a man? Oh, goodness!

Not a god at all, nor parent,

but a solitary narcissist

whose gender’s of no consequence?

Wail till I tell my Mary Ellen!


You are colossal, though—

please tell me that’s correct.

By far our family’s greatest body,

ringed by 67 fawning moons!

Okay. I don’t suppose it matters,

not as far as you’re concerned—


but you should know

you have admirers down here.

We called you God and Father

not for nothing, and by any name

you’ll still loom sweetly in our minds

no matter now vainglorious you are.


Tom Riordan lives in New Jersey. He’s a retired restaurant worker and teacher, and dreams about becoming pope for his next career.

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