PONS-BROOKS COMET BECOMES THE LIBRARIAN
—Winifred Edgerton Merrill
I never looked at the stars, so focused
on multiple integrals, trilinears, and triplaners. Trustee,
I’m ready to be your dark truth, though I’m a woman
and have been warned not to disturb you.
Trustee, see me as I stand before you, light motifs
on trays arranged in rough Fibonacci sequences,
spirals like fingernails gesturing to the future.
Believe me, I’m ready. The comet is not so mysterious,
cold as it is, old as it is. But I will marry, and in the funk
of mold in the vents, no longer profess. Trustee,
see me as a woman. Know the air is a kind of skin
frosting edges of books never pulled from the shelf.
—Maria Salomea Skłodowska (Curie)
Such flowers bloom in these vials of radium,
scented green as clover and warm to my thighs
under this smock. Pierre finishes all things
magnetic, and my daughters, both radiant
in summer dresses, cruise the halls for sweets.
Poland gets its own element, and these polish
hands churn in worry for any singular attention
drawn out by horses in the rain. Rays
filter into the street as the girls sleep. Somewhere,
aside from all my heat and fortune, crazing
hinges begin to rust, bind. Smoother brilliances
and a cracked skull stain a French alley. What
has the totality of natural sciences given me
now? What can I hope to keep in tubes
that is as stalwart and tender and warm?
JODDY MURRAY’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in over 70 journals, including, most recently, The Broken Plate, DUCTS, Caliban Online, Existere, Lindenwood Review, Licking River, Meridian, McNeese Review, Minetta Review, Moon City Review, Moonshot Magazine, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Southampton Review, Stickman Review, and Texas Review. He currently teaches writing and rhetoric in Fort Worth, Texas.