A windy dream reminded me
to remember your name. Drowned
with husband and child off Long Island,
your carcass devoured by cod
and haddock, you left one book,
Women of the Nineteenth Century—
a sample of your genius to goad
our late and belated era.
I forgot your name because age
misfiled a dozen Margarets—
colleagues, athletes, cocktail party
handshakes. No lovers, I’m sure,
but an engraving of your profile
reminds me of Alexandria,
whose murder amid her children
just recently stopped resonating
in a milieu that no longer cares.
With his wide-eyed naturalist’s gaze
Thoreau searched for your remains
and found half of Ireland littered
on the beach. The dead reminded him
that everything is better alive,
a lesson he’d apply to white pines,
mast-high and upright in Maine,
by attributing souls to them.
I forgot your name so arose
to look it up. What did you write
that wouldn’t infuriate Hawthorne,
who resented “scribbling women”
and rendered you as Zenobia,
a muscular Blithedale irritant?
Sophia, your friend, would avenge
his sexism by scribbling over
his journals after his death.
Margaret Fuller, you married
Marquis Ossoli, bore his child,
and drowned as deeply as Emerson’s
Nature recommended. Next June,
if I survive this brittle cold,
maybe I’ll find a bone on a beach
and name it after you and other
intellects now hung in the sky
a mile or two out of reach.