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.


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

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