how galaxies form

Something on the tip
of the universe’s tongue
no more than an unclaimed
memory: a vanished recollection
that picked up a few

carbon atoms, like sticky-burrs
on its pant leg, on the way
through some asteroid belt

where it began to accumulate
the stuff of it, mass, hording
the entire periodic table
and packing every room
to the ceiling with it, no order
to it, no time to sort it out
the spiral arms of a neglected hallway
closet, packed full and slinging
merciless gravity waves

like a kleptomania of the cosmos
or, something else, it’s just on the tip
of everyone’s tongue