Galileo's daughter looks through a telescope at the stars.
To her, they seem very feminine--
She feels that she would like to dance with them
And make men weak-kneed with desire.
Galileo's daughter pauses next to a fountain and sees the stars reflected in the water.
To her, they seem like white horses drawing a carriage--
The carriage is night and she is riding in it,
Only to stop at a fountain so that she can look in.
Her father's friends call her "child" though she is twenty-two.
They set out their hearts like charts,
And like a latitudinal line,
She splits them.
Galileo's daughter lays on her back like a boy, determined to count the stars.
To her, they are like salt spilled across a cloth which then overturns into the oceans.
She steals a sextant and takes up life at sea, the shores of which are her skin.
All through the dog days, she plays Sirius to a series of lovers;
The boys won't last the summer,
But the girls sing rondeaux
And dance in the most beautiful arrangements
Beyond the ken of stunned scientists
At their instruments.
Art by Dante Rossetti