Poetry by Daisy Bassen
Art by Kirsten Hemrich
New Types of Irreducibility Criteria
Grace Hopper, 1906-1992
One for every day in creation,
Not so many if only mother
Would consider the confusion
Of jaws in the belly, milk-teeth
In the roomy heart. Oil mottling
They said. Those liars. It was preferable
To decide that than contend with dullness,
Satisfaction with a stone sundial.
Time was packed in around them, shaped,
Damp earth pressed close to a cutting’s roots,
I hope you’ve learned
Your lesson, mother said, offering
The last clock. It had a face like a stranger,
Independent, someone she mustn’t talk to.
Someone who’d have to learn English
On his own.
I accept this the way I accept sugar is sweet
I have two lives,
One I’ve lived,
One I’ve escaped.
I’m grateful you didn’t rape me,
All you boys and men I’ve known.
I’ve thought of writing you letters,
Thank you for what you didn’t do,
Thank you for not breaking me
When you had the chance.
I knew you might, you could.
How can I regret not going to Prague,
Some beautiful city far away, with old bells tolling,
How can I regret not studying oils, Japanese,
Not meeting his gaze?
I have lived a life without the particular horror of force.
I haven’t had to scream as I practiced,
To blind a man with my ignition
Key. I’m so very grateful,
And I loathe my gratitude,
And that you have never thought this,
While you drive to work, fall asleep at night.
You’ve never forgotten it.
I’ve never forgotten it.
By Daisy Bassen
Daisy Bassen is a practicing physician and poet. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program. She completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, The Delmarva Review, The Sow’s Ear, and Tuck Magazine as well as multiple other journals. She was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, a finalist in the 2018 Adelaide Literary Prize, a recent winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest and is doubly nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.