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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

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


Do you remember our earnestness our sincerity
in first grade when we learned to sing America

The Beautiful along with the Star-Spangled Banner
and say the Pledge of Allegiance to America

We put our hands over our first grade hearts
we felt proud to be citizens of America

I said One

I am not lyric any more
I will not play the harp
for your pleasure

I will not make a joyful
noise to you, neither
will I lament

for I know you drink 
lamentation, too,
like wine

so I dully repeat
you hurt me
I hate you

I pull my eyes away from the hills
I will not kill for you
I will never love you again

It sweeps away depression and today
you can’t tell the heaped pin-white
cherry blossoms abloom along
Riverside Drive from the clouds above
it is all kerfluffle, all moisture and light and so
into the wind I go
past Riverside Church and the Fairway
Market, past the water treatment