Ode to BX442 [Poetry]

by Adam Palumbo

Your distance from me is fathomable but just barely—
10.7 billion light years—about as far as anything possibly
could be. Far from the street where my apartment is,
from regret or oceans or any notion of chicken salad.
My friends at Wikipedia tell me I can find you in the
constellation Pegasus, at a declination of +12° 48′ 0.0″
if only I could. Your grand spiral design is unlike anything
our earthbound architectures could accomplish. I wonder
if someone didn’t have a hand in your scaffolding and in
your hues of blue and white. There are plenty of poems for the moon,
but astonishingly few to the galaxies, quasars, nebulae,
singularities. You may have vanished long ago, you could be
a part of my coffee table or the downstairs neighbors’ dog.
You could be ejecting outwards in all directions
in clouds of super-hot dust. Your intricate construction is, after all,
quite fragile. Or you could be where you were 10.7
billion years ago, as we know you in this corner of the Milky Way.
I hope you are still revolving in your space. I hope you
have had a happy life of baby stars and planets to keep you busy,
however far from me you may be.


Adam Palumbo received his BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Richmond. While there, he won the Margaret Haley Carpenter Award for Poetry. He has had essays, reviews, poems, and translations published by Guernica, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, The Northern Virginia Review, and the Wilfred Owen Association Journal. He lives in Annapolis, MD.