In companion with the exhibition: Megan Pflug: Go Outside

by Greg Purcell

Our instruments have revealed
what they were designed to reveal,
not only pleasure and failure
but nonbaryonic matter fluffed

like chicken feathers
into the pillowbag of everything
not seen, not touched,

neither stimulated to a hair"s depth
by electromagnetic energy
nor amassed beyond reason
in black holes

but which pushes that small per cent
into animal shapes
and galactic forms we spend
an eyeblink naming, our whole lives
and the life of our sun
simply counting the forms,

awarding ourselves prizes
for the novelty of tagged
newt eyelessness and talon-shapes
inconsequent to Saturn

or convocations of gas shone
through glass better polished
or sent in gravitational free-fall

clacking, blinking at the edge
of the particulate grey junk
we produce, at best, to name it,

or as poetry now infrequently
summons the living or bridges
the gap between what"s known
and what"s just there

but twists in wads of
camoflaged musculature
to await the cinder-end of ideology
and once again
pull hatchets on the indians,

so too does the baryonic
impotently huff within
what today we"ll call dark matter--

in defense of life, I think,
but almost pleasantly
against ambition,
so that finally
we can admit the dead
into our homes

and begin to believe the
minutest instrumentations
of their saying,
and how they got that way--

which, six to one in mass
to what we"ve tentatively named
and dubbed nameable
until five minutes ago,
neutrons, electrons we once held
like kittens to be named,

before the discovery of these
invisible halos crushing
light and textbook mass
into galactic shapes

whose revolutions encompass
every planet ever blowsed
like blown glass, and every planet,

which, through sheer neglect
must at times grow foetid
then sterile, then florid,
within that sterile wheel,

and which in 10 years may again
be called Jehoveh or Hikmet dependant
on the funding and good placement
of its appointer--

the living once again banished
from their legends
and the territory seized--

we super-maximals
in rabbit- or wolf-flesh
can say at least

there once was something
we called dark matter,

and once real we could say once haloed,
and once named we could say
once arranged,

and it, too,
was the other human thing
grown large.

writing index

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