Today's poem was originally published in the Dec. '11 issue of Stone Telling
; you can hear an audio recording the poem, as well as learn more about the poet, at the publication post
. Note that you may need to increase your browser window width for viewing the poem here to get the full effect of the line spacing of the 'Body' section.
GIRL HOURSSofia SamatarFor Henrietta Swan LeavittNotes( In the 1870s, the Harvard College Observatory began to employ young women as human computers to record and analyze data... )
Harlow Shapley, director of the observatory, reckoned the difficulty of astronomical projects in "girl hours"—the number of hours a human computer would take to obtain the data. The most challenging projects were measured in "kilo-girl-hours."Conclusion
You were not the only deaf woman there.
Annie Cannon, too, was hard of hearing.
On the day of your death she wrote: Rainy day pouring at night.
Oh bright rain, brave clouds, oh stars,
Two thousand four hundred fires
and uncharted, unstudied,
the hours, the hours, the hours.Body
The body is a computer.
The body has two eyes. For the body, the process of triangulation is automatic. The body can see the red steeple of the church beyond the trees. Blackbirds unfold as they grow nearer, like messages.
The body never intended to be a secret.
The body was called a shining cloud, and then a galaxy. The body comforted mariners, spilt milk in the southern sky. The body was thought to be only 30,000 light years away. ( The body is untrustworthy. It falls ill... )