Øyvind Holmstad CC
Dark Matter Matters
the story I tell my son to comfort us both
every. single. thing.
in our whole w i d e universe
because of darkness.
that we think is super scary
is just the universe’s glue.
Dark matter, the scientists call it.
This dark matter doesn’t reflect or give off any light, so
we can’t see it, no matter how hard we squint or
how w i d e we open our eyes.
No telescope or FLASHlight or microscope
in the world
will let us see it.
We can’t touch it, we can’t see it, so
we only know it’s there because
of how it makes
other things act.
It’s kinda like the wind, like how
a gust makes leaves shoot up off the ground
into tiny little
plastic bags and shopping carts go on
unscheduled flights, how
the kite tries to get away from us and we cannot see what’s—pulling—at—it--
But, if we’re paying attention when the wind blows,
then we might notice other things:
the dog can catch smells in the air,
tracing the path with her nose
and her eyes closed.
water can ripple without being touched.
Darkness works the same way, my darling.
It lets us see what we otherwise miss, like
stars and streetlights and lightning bugs.
bright neon green the alarm clock light is.
the straight-back chair somehow makes a
funky-round shadow against the wall.
So remember, my child:
the dark matters,
and we need not be afraid.
Monica Smith Hart is an English professor living with her husband, son, and two rescued pit bulls in the Texas Panhandle.
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