Stare too long and like an optical illusion

the diffracted light hums with intensity.

The edges of its diadem fray like candlelight.


They could not do it with their aureoles of gold leaf.

It had to be plasma spinning billions of kilometers

in as little time as it takes you to visit your parents.


From high atop the mountains

of Arizona and Atacama and Antarctica,

our monasteries trained their eyes upon it


our monks carried it in the heavy lanterns

of hard drives to the halls of Boston and Bonn

and there summoned a new image of reality.


In the center lies its shadow with no Arago spot.

It is denser than 6.5 billion of our Suns. It is

as large as the orbit of our farthest planet.


It knows light intimately, before it leaves.

It carries light down with it into its purpose.

It bends my thoughts even at this distance.


I cannot comprehend its existence.

Even seeing it now, for the first time, I still

cannot conceive of the nothing that is


somewhere at the center of its darkness.

The end of all our practical knowledge.

It is darkness pinned to darkness.

R. Charboneau

2 thoughts on “Behold! An Icon of M87

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