Galilei’s Glass

by Wendi White

How could this stick be the thing
that put us in our proper position,
that struck us from the center
to the sidelines of the firmament?

So homely and plain you might
mistake it for a broom handle,
the stave of a butter churn,
the spoke of a farmer’s wagon.

But turned upon the heavens
four hundred years ago,
this unassuming cylinder found
Jupiter festooned with moons.

Unfixed they circled around their god
each with their own step and style,
advancing across his form, falling
behind until we were dizzied

by their dance. All was rearranged.
No longer the nexus of creation,
we have new orbits, humbled
by the heresy of a stick.


Wendi White comes to Norfolk by way of The People’s Republic of Austin, Vermont, Boston, Mexico, Guatemala, The Philippines, and originally, the Adirondack Mountains of New York. She was lured to Tidewater by a siren’s song promising fried oysters and crab cakes on a regular basis. She is now a first year student in the Creative Writing Program at ODU where she writes poetry about our only planet and its future. Ms. White’s poem “Galilei’s Glass” was the Graduate winner of Old Dominion University’s 2011 College Poetry Prize. Her poem “Benediction” received an Honorable Mention.