An Astronomy of Things
An astronomy of things is established by the perfect knowledge
of the space an object should occupy .
—Giorgio de Chirico, Metaphysical Aesthetic, 1919
Some objects are real only to each other.
In that cosmic recipe of stardust and heat,
the tiniest things—strangelets and quarks—
spin and crash unseen under Swiss wheat. Yet
the super-collider lives to know. Coiled
far below the earth’s surface, its copper veins
pulse with matter, with a beam of protons
that bends time back to its origin: to
Before Objects, when there was only the space
between—though chances are, that’s an object
too. In order to talk about what we can’t see,
we invent a charmed language: particles
of beauty and truth, dark energy, strange matter.
Dimensions curl up or stretch into strings.
It used to be our reach was shorter,
we told stories to explain the nature
out our front door: hoodoos and rivers,
bugs, seasons, weather. Stars, too, of course,
their habits, features, affairs. Let’s just get it out
on the table, amid the trinkets and dust:
there is nothing in Nature
that isn’t colliding with words.
Winner of the 2009 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Award.
Available now ($16, shipping is free!) from Bear Star Press.