There’s a Supermassive Black Hole at The Center of Every Galaxy

by Chloe Firetto-Toomey
Words help us live in the small rooms 
of poems, where the days return to themselves 
in thin stitched linen rows.
The archeologist is versed in sedimentary lines 
and wood rings that recall the past 
as palm readers read lifelines to foretell the future.
Looking through a telescope the atmosphere distorts the stars
as though looking at a starfish through water. 
As though Wittgenstein was right all along, 
all things are situated in infinite space 
in contextual galaxies 
two hundred thousand light-years wide—
a space time net alive with bright spinning fish. 
A pigeon drinks from a puddle.
We eat with our hands and use pitta as fork. 
To say forks are for the civilized is proof 
that names betray themselves,
form slow explosions, 
and transform to something new as water does.
The passionflower vine
grips the steel fence in the water-smashed air.
Root systems mingle in the dark. 
Rise, on botanical time.
Nouns are root systems, entwining us.
The Neolithic Revolution happened in caves 
with tallow candles, and inks of pollen, ochre and beetroot—
What is this impulse? Images come alive— 
gargantuan bovines shiver their legs with licks of light. 
Art expands consciousness as light dilates pupils.
In the meantime, fire pits and dirt ovens progressed 
to microwave-box-ovens power-nuking meat and greens—
Evolution is a simple noun but we’ve had a few beers 
and when I say it: evolution
I feel the word ocean is my mouth, it’s sound and weight.
From here, a name is the only difference between planet and star.
The wind tosses palm leaves and spackles street lit shadows
and I notice the small lines that track-mark the corners of his eyes, 
soft V shapes crinkle and define the small valleys of his face. 
Today, we build a habitable illusion within words 
and tomorrow we will be 
married to charcoal dust until
it carpets the studio floor and becomes an artifact.
The bougainvillea breaks into bloom
and falls apart.  
I thought nothing of my name 
until one night, sitting at a table 
at a strip club with a man, 
a woman danced naked 
but for the small sequin starfish on her aureoles. 
Who else feels a stranger to life? The question called forth
new meanings without names. 
The bright fish school back upon themselves
as starlings do in murmuration,
and the truth is, there’s a supermassive black hole 
at the center of every galaxy. 
The things of the world 
into one another 
like puzzle pieces,
or the words of a poem.