CentaurusAYou took me to the Undersea Gardens
bought me a t-shirt glowing with moon snails
told me you weigh galaxies with giant ears
fastened to the sky

                        I told you I work at Chapters
                        tearing covers off mass market paperbacks
                        to send back to publishers to save on shipping

You said galaxies are much heavier
than anticipated due to the uncalculated
presence of dark matter

                        So are books – I have to split each spine and
                        rip it in half before trashing it so it doesn’t
                        end up at the Sally Ann where
                        someone might buy it for a dime

Dark matter can only be measured
indirectly through the effect it has on
observable phenomena

                        It kinda sucks as a job but I get twenty
                        percent off and can take my breaks
                        at Starbucks

The estimation of mass relies in part on
the Doppler shift which gives us
the velocity of stars

                        I have to work fast or I start looking at the
                        words which are mostly crap but last week
                        the manager caught me reading Grapes
                        of Wrath when I was supposed to be shredding

The heft of dark matter – which may be
black holes or brown dwarfs or even as yet
unidentified subatomic particles – is one
of the great mysteries of the universe

                         So are mocha frappuccinos

First published in Ride Backwards On Dragon (Leaf Press)
Copyright © 2007, Kim Goldberg

Image Credit: ESO, some rights reserved

Kim Goldberg is a poet, journalist and author of six books. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Post Road, Quarter After Eight, Calyx, Istanbul Literature Review and many other magazines and anthologies around the world. She is the 2008 winner of the Rannu Fund Poetry Prize for Speculative Literature. Her 2007 poetry collection, Ride Backwards On Dragon, was shortlisted for Canada's Lampert Memorial Award for poetry. Her latest book is RED ZONE, a verse map of the homeless population in Nanaimo, BC, where she lives. Visit http://pigsquash.wordpress.com/