For Vera Rubin

—Astronomer who proved the existence of dark matter

Who looked past the luminous to find in shadow—
why contrary bodies spin at the same speed
when at its locus, love agrees, the distance doesn’t
train what we orbit—what we follow does.
Planets & stars, heaviness, mass beyond measure—
she saw the universe’s unaccountable darkness
& named the matter—that ten to one, the stars are
halo on a missing angel’s body.  She divined
the inside spins elliptically, the same icy pace as out,
galaxies formed & thrown into shape by the mystery,
a potter’s wheel whirling for the kiln of darkness,
where men stop short of gathering in visible
circuits of space, too busy mapping the familiar
hierarchies by twilight, naming stars after themselves.

Max Heinegg is a high school English teacher, the co-founder and brewmaster of Medford Brewing Company, and a singer-songwriter whose records can be heard at His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart, Best of the Net, and he’s been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Rougarou Journal, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, and Nazim Hikmet.

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