Astronomy ~ G.L. Grey

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!)

cheery classroom.


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

the truth:

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,

painting planets.