Topological Grief

Topological Grief
Mary Alexandra Agner
Bruce Heezen, 1924-1977
Marie Tharp, 1920-2006

Your clothes know me for the cartographer I am.
New body, new wrinkles, new belt notch,
not ocean floor spread smooth under your shirts.
A hemline was the deepest trench between us.
I've listened long years to the earth,
hand-drawn her secrets, learned
a body's curve is sometimes just a curve.
Maps impose meaning despite the territory.
No more your eraser to my markings,
no more your soundings, unsound theories,
targets of ink jars I threw.  No more you, Bruce.
We were no easy X, unmarked spot in a society
lacking lat and lon for life-long colleagues
oppositely sexed.  What's left, bereft of you,
is me. Not draftsman, woman, wife,
                                                                      but scientist.

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Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. Her latest book of poetry is The Scientific Method (Parallel Press); her latest short story appears in issue 5 of Bastion Science Fiction. She makes her home halfway up Spring Hill. She can be found online at http://www.pantoum.org.

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