Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry


Curiosity Rover's Self Portrait at 'John Klein' Drilling Site

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

I parse myself pixel by pixel,
raster recognition registering
ones and zeros, bit, byte, baud,
checksummed and sent Solward.
I am incurious about my countenance.
I prefer landscapes to portraits,
silt, sand, shades of red
rock to a right-angled robot head,
cyclops, pirate, single lens.
You think:  little, lonely.
You anthropomorphize me, android
who drives the worlds you ache to walk.
Maker of missions, what makes you
make up stories when the dust
divulges truths up to the spectrograph?

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Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets in poetry, prose, and Ada. Her latest book of poetry is The Scientific Method (Parallel Press 2011); her latest short fiction is "Chilaquiles Con Code" in the Journal of Unlikely Cryptography. She makes her home halfway up Spring Hill; she can be found online at