Hertha Ayrton 1854-1923

by Jessy Randall

My father was a watchmaker. He knew
that hours are evenly spaced, their evenness
apparent on the fact of the clock
if not in our experience of them.
Time moved fast when he was at home. 

My mother was a seamstress. She knew
how to match each stitch to its sister.
Machinery helped, the gentle weight
of her foot on the pedal. Press too hard
and she’d have a disaster. 

I was one of eight children. I knew
how to divide things equally, along with
the anger of injustice. The bread cut into
sixteen thin slices. The unfairness of the ends
and the precision of the knife. 

As an adult, I devised a method
to mark a line into equal parts—
of any number.

Copyright © 2019 by Jessy Randall


Featured Poet of the Month Jessy Randall

Jessy Randall’s poems, stories, and other things have appeared in Asimov’s, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Poetry, and Strange Horizons. Her most recent book is How to Tell If You Are Human: Diagram Poems (Pleiades, 2018). She is the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College, where she occasionally teaches a class in The History and Future of the Book.

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