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About this Poem 

“I am married to an astrophysicist who recently published a book on dark matter and dark energy, the manuscript of which I read more than once. The poem plays with the idea that we, like cosmic bodies, are surrounded by invisibly clinging haloes of strange particles, and are subject to forces we cannot understand that drive us apart.”
Alicia Ostriker

Dark Matter and Dark Energy

My husband says dark matter is a reality
not just some theory invented by adolescent computers
he can prove it exists and is everywhere

forming invisible haloes around everything
and somehow because of gravity
holding everything loosely together

the way a child wants to escape its parents
and doesn’t want to—what’s that—
we don’t know what it is but we know it is real

the way our mothers and fathers fondly
angrily followed fixed orbits around
each other like mice on a track

the way every human and every atom
rushes through space wrapped in its invisible
halo, this big shadow—that’s dark dark matter

sweetheart, while the galaxies
in the wealth of their ferocious protective bubbles
stare at each other

unable to cease
proudly
receding

Copyright © 2015 by Alicia Ostriker. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Alicia Ostriker. Used with permission of the author.

Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1937, Alicia Ostriker has been a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. She currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

poem

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves

The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—

Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—

Pursuing

poem

My neighbor’s daughter has created a city
you cannot see
on an island to which you cannot swim
ruled by a noble princess and her athletic consort
all the buildings are glass so that lies are impossible
beneath the city they have buried certain words
which can never be spoken again

2
poem

                    for Frank O’Hara

Frank, we have become an urban species
     at this moment many millions of humans are
          standing on some corner waiting like me

for a signal permitting us to go,
     a signal depicting a small pale pedestrian
          to be