Monday 23 March 2020

After Lieserl

in the imagined voice of Mileva Marić Einstein*
by Catherine Arra

I came to think Albert was my destiny.
He, not I, would be the groundbreaker,
the harbinger of new physics.

We married at the Bern courthouse
6 January 1903 and
I devoted all of myself to him.

We were dynamic, moving
as magnetic waves, unraveling mysteries
as if propelled by angels.

Late into nights, after his hours
at the Patent Office, we wrestled out theories,
equations, and the papers of his “miracle year.”

Grand men of science who denied me
would know the name Einstein,
his vision, the unparalleled reach of his mind.

I willingly worked, melded with him,
and yes, mastered the math. Agility
and discipline manifested things ethereal.

We had another child, Hans Albert.
I never imagined my husband
would leave me.

* * * * *

*Mileva Marić Einstein was a visionary mathematician and scientist in her own right. There is evidence to indicate that she was instrumental, and perhaps a collaborator, in the scientific papers that comprised Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, of epoch-making theories that redefined the mechanics of the universe and laid the path to his fame. Mileva and Albert married in 1903, after the birth and loss of an illegitimate daughter, Lieserl. They later had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. They separated in 1914, and officially divorced in 1919.

"After Lieserl" is part of the forthcoming poetry collection Her Landscape: Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press 2020).

Catherine Arra is the author of (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and three chapbooks. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. Forthcoming in 2020 from Finishing Line Press is a new chapbook, Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein. Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at

1 comment:

  1. *THUD* Even tho I knew it was coming, the unblemished, self-contained voice held me captive until... Stunning.