in the imagined voice of Mileva Marić Einstein*
by Catherine Arra
I adore my boys,
Hans Albert and little Tete.
It’s a wonder
to birth men in a world that works
so masterfully to slight women,
to making meals, mending socks, manners.
How I must minimize myself, my merit, and
mathematics to the meticulous mothering of men—
* * * * *
*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.
"Don't Misunderstand" 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 www.catherinearra.com.