Ada (or, Byron’s Daughter)

by Iris A. Law

I who man this power
of machine walk not in beauty
but in ordered lines each mark
ruled rigid straight against
the inclined path the numerals
discrete within their cells

good wives who wait
for news of salt or tolling brass
will pine for tar-black
ash but I will wait for no
one save the compassed
bodies tracing out

the sun its paper cage
its cart the punch by which
we grind the number
from its house hence let

there be a function such that x
stands for the vortex-pull of blood
and y the black of suckled
ink then plot me out against
the clacking brass and say

that I was born between the horns
of two green stars the one
warm womb and me its sticky
worm encoiled within its sac


Iris A. Law received her M.F.A in poetry from the University of Notre Dame in 2010. Her work was selected for the 2009 Best of the Net Anthology and has previously appeared in a number of small journals, including LUMINA, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and Kartika Review. She edits the online magazine Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry and is currently working at Notre Dame as a First Year Composition instructor.