Stone Telling

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Gas Giants

by Maria Velazquez

My mother describes my conception
as something like a battle,
something like
the confrontation of two galaxies
in the midst of a universal night,
like the gradual collision of two gaseous bodies
(Neptune and Saturn? Jupiter and Uranus?),
the slow movement of two gas giants forced
into a mathematical struggle over the proper use of gravity wells,
epicycles, and momentum.

They were more than two ships passing in the night;
they were my parents,
with the edges of their conflict as amorphous,
as unstated, as the laws of nature, as precise
as an equation written in fading chalk
in the corner of a room once used to pin down astronomy.
They collapsed suns into black holes and called them children.
They forced outflung comets to spin away forever,
said they were

Maria Velazquez is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of American Studies. Her research interests include community-building and technology. She blogs for The Hathor Legacy (, a feminist pop culture blog, and recently received the Winnemore Dissertation Fellowship from the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. She has also received a fellowship from the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity's Interdisciplinary Scholars Program. Maria is proud of her work with Lifting Voices, a DC-based non-profit devoted to helping young people use language and the arts to empower themselves.

Photography: adapted from Hubble's New Eyes: Butterfly Emerges from Stellar Demise in Planetary Nebula NGC 6302, NASA Goddard Photo and Video.