astronomy (based on Jungle Peace* by William Beebe)
so, astronomer-like, I took notebook and pencil
and calculated how long it would take for her to drag
herself, hands as crutches, from the hospital
back to her home six miles away; how long it might
take for the Andromeda galaxy to collide with another,
and make more gold for her ears from the night—
and her husband augmenting her elemental patience;
but she could only think of the child she’d left unfed, the
smirk and glare of the doctor when she’d expressed sentience
*This is one of several Orientalist books Beebe wrote about Guyana; the passage I refer to describes a “Coolie woman” dragging herself home as a “planetary” object to be observed.
Divya M. Persaud is a planetary scientist, writer, and composer of Indo-Caribbean heritage from New Jersey. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Space & Climate Physics at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory. Divya is also the poet of the upcoming book do not perform this, which won an Editor’s Choice Award (‘Great’ Indian Poetry Collective, 2018), and two self-published collections. She is additionally the composer of the self-produced song cycle/album THEY WILL BE FREE (2017). Her writing and music incorporate her polymathic background and transcend form to discuss memory, human connection, and the double-diaspora experience.