Most of what you’ll learn
about stars and space
and even dark matter
will be cheery: will be cheerily
presented in your yellow, bright,
(like the sun!)
I’ll help you paint those styrofoam
planets, any color you want,
and when your teacher tells you
the scales are all off
I will whisper in your ear
She doesn’t have a clue.
Perhaps that will be enough.
Maybe you’ll take up music
and play the cello so well
the neighbors one house over
will weep and forgive and donate
to orchestra camp.
But some day, and I can’t help this,
you may learn about the endless
spread of space.
And if I’ve found for you a good
and helpful Sunday school in those early years,
maybe you will think it reflects the glory
of God’s kingdom, eternal, eternal,
or maybe you will think,
like we’ve all thought,
that every mile of emptiness
tells the story of our abandonment.
There are things I hope you never know.
But trapped in your colorless bedroom,
or hunched over a stranger’s toilet,
or left alone in some apocalyptic waiting room,
some dark day when you are 14 or 29 or 48,
you may feel you understand
black holes, exactly.
I won’t be there then, I suppose,
but I’d suggest this,
which is mostly no comfort at all:
That it might take precisely this kind of universe
to hold us up.
That maybe stars explode for a better reason
than science can give.
That no one will ever understand dark matter
and that means it could be anything
and that means it could be infinitely good,
like all those nights we spent, happy,