PLUTO'S NOT A PLANET ANYMORE (from West Branch Literary Magazine)

Pluto’s Not A Planet Anymore

My mother told the most beautiful lies. We could lay for hours and listen to her, my sisters and I, peering into the words, the worlds, like a paperweight. They defied logic, her stories, but were never supernatural. 

In the afternoons, we read the bible. We laughed. Mother’s stories were so much more colorful. She told us about the baseball player who pitched a no-hitter on acid. My sister said, “I want to be like that when I grow up.” She told us that the rings of Jupiter were made of gas, and we giggled. She told us the moon tugged on the ocean and then let go, every day, several times a day.

In school, they told us how the earth was made. My sisters and I passed notes that read, “This paper is made from trees.” We were always in trouble.

When mother passed, news came on the radio. “Pluto’s not a planet anymore,” they said. We knew it wasn’t so. Just like when they told us Paul was dead, or John, when we observed the 10 minutes of silence at Yoko’s request. 

She sent us a joke, from beyond the grave. That we could believe.