Melissa E. Mishcon

Dark Matter

“Something’s screwy
with the universe,”
the professor postulated.
Well, yes, and shouldn’t
that be the Multi-Verse?
Still, someone has some
‘splaining to do regarding
all that’s gone missing.

The Big ‘They’ call this
clump of MIA atoms:
mass. But the rest of us
know it by other names,
ones we invented, scratched
on stone, wood, etched
in metal, scrawled on bark.
All those things and people
that used to be and now
are not surrounded, infused.
Really, the entire history
of who we were, weren’t,
all that was possible,
endured, employed, evolved,
enjoyed, happened, unseen
good deeds and bad,
peeling paint, underlying
pocked walls, thoughts,
prayers, curses, what we
wanted, what we got,
sojourns, repairs, inventions,
the entire crew, cargo of the
of the Ark. The arc of algae,
slime oozing from whatever
muddy puddle stepped into
or, somehow, avoided by
creatures great and small.

The thing with Dark Matter
is that it can be used as
the definitive cosmic excuse,
a Physicist’s version of,
“The dog ate my homework.”
(Although, at times, the dog
may have done that). Still,
galactic clusters, gravitational
lensing, even good old gravity
can’t be used to explain
Dark Matter any more than
Dark Matter can be used
to explain these processes,
even if that could manage
to ‘Save the phenomena’.
See, that’s not how it works
in science, Ptolemy. No matter
how pretty your project,
The Almagest, is an infant’s
mobile, swirling gigs and globes,
without hard data, proof.
Yet, the idea of invisible
forces moving through us,
gathering in the planet’s core,
breaking down, set to self-destruct,
an inter-galactic Mission Impossible
missive, dispersing molecules,
creating enough energy
to spark Kilauea, Krafla,
Krakatoa, Etna or other
pre-heating pizza stone,
strikes flint-to-steel to
the char cloth of wondering.

Let’s face it, all of the
star systems have been
busily incandescent
for quite some time.
There isn’t enough gravity
in the world to keep it all
together, without…
well, that’s where
Dark Matter comes in,
bits and bobs that don’t
produce light, nor absorb
it either, a true neutral,
Switzerland of particles.
Stealthy, wealthy, willing
to be invisible as a parent
holding the back of
a two-wheeler while
the wobbly youth
peddles on, not seeing
or even realizing
that strong hand
steadying the ride.

How to Feel Safe

First, have no children.
They learn to walk, talk,
drive, mate, procreate.
No parents either. They age,
need minding. Friends turn,
and if they don’t, you may
care, and stress is bad.

Mistrust intimacy. Strangers
should stay that way.
A handshake is a germ fest.
If needs must, bow, but
wear a surgical mask.
Wash often and long.
Kissing is out, exchange
of body fluids riskier
than air travel.

Come to that, forget Paris,
Hong Kong, Venice,
The Great Barrier Reef,
Jerusalem, New York.
Eschew ocean, mountain,
rainforest, savannah, lake.
Anything with a view
chock full of hazzards.

This in mind, take no photos.
Treasure nothing. Things break,
burn, blow away. Own nothing
since loss is definite. Keep no pets.
Dogs run away, cats come back.
Acquire no wealth and yet
avoid abject poverty.
Buying, acquiring,
selling, spending, saving…
A pointless cycle of peril.

Don’t count on religion
or science, since given
the right circumstances
even gravity fails.
Attend no church, temple,
school of thought. Do not pray,
hope, think, dream.
Read no books, papers,
online ‘zines. See no films.
Hear no podcast, music, seek no art.
Words and images put ideas in your head.
Longing leads to let down.

Cigars, cigarettes, even pipes
are a no-no, everyone knows
smoking and most pleasures
are bound to lead to destruction.
High voltage lines cause cancer.
Live off the grid. Turn nothing on.
Metal is sharp and plastic is deadly.
Start no engine. Things with
wheels are trouble, automobiles, bicycles,
planes crash, trains derail.
Washer/dryers, cell phones,
microwave ovens, computers,
gas grills, all leaking, off-gassing toxins.

Convenience is a trap. You come
to depend on things and when they break,
where are you? Build no fire,
between the creosote, CO2,
and possibility of spreading,
you’re just asking for trouble.
If you haven’t already, buy duct tape!
Stay away from sharp objects
and blunt ones, too.

Do not eat
preservatives, sugar, flour,
red meat, butter, raw fish,
well, any fish, canned goods, bruised fruit,
or food cooked over charcoal.
Drink water, but not from plastic bottles.
Wine is good for you.
Wine is bad for you.
Ditto coffee, tea, sleep.
Milk has lactose
and Strontium 90.
Grain alcohol ruins the liver.
Fruit juice is high in glucose.

Avoid aging and illness.
Vaccinations are suspect.
Toss mercury thermometers,
not exactly sure where, though.
See no doctors and for pity sake,
stay out of hospitals rife
with flesh-eating bacteria.

Do not go out. Weather is a menace.
Lives lost to it every day.
Snow, wind, rain, hail, heat,
cold, ice, and overexposure
to ultraviolet light. Wear sunblock,
take Vitamin D
and don’t run with scissors.
The following activities
have resulted in death or serious injury:
climbing, skiing, riding, driving, cooking,
spelunking, fixing the furnace.
Stay home. But be careful!
This is where most accidents occur.

Check for radon, mold, ticks, and mice.
Find an interior room, (no window).
Lay flat on a dried organic grass mat
raised up 4.3 inches off the floor
making sure that shoulders are square,
abdominal muscles taut,
arms at sides, legs outstretched.
Uncross your ankles.
Is your neck supported? Okay.



Melissa E. Mishcon has had fiction, commentary, and poetry published in The G.W. Review, Urthona, The Women’s Times, The Artful Mind, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Albany Times Union, The Berkshire Edge, to name a few. Her novel, Just Between Us, won first prize from Birmingham Southern University.  She has been named for commendation by Serpentine (1st Prize), New Millennium, as well as other journals. She is a practicing psychotherapist who lives in The Berkshires in Massachusetts.

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