Astropoetica: Mapping the Stars through Poetry

Red Spot

False color image of Jupiter's Red Spot

Credit: NASA/Voyager I

A long stare into my own eye
reveals the storms of Jupiter
scattered across my retina:
a red spot making shadows
on my choroid, cloudtopped
by the milky white sclera.

I shiver as it watches back,
as Galileo shivered, loose glass
to his eye collecting light
from that most singular and baleful optic.

What anticyclone moves within me,
made of spiraled pigment proteins
slowly spreading to occlude my sight?
Smaller than a grain of dust.  But still I blink.

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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