DR. ASA GRAY EATS CROW
You think plants aren’t hard to know?
I studied them before she was born
to that extraordinary man.
Of course he trained her. Chance
made her look when the comet passed
above Nantucket, tracking West.
So she got to be the first of her sex
admitted to the Academy. Unschooled
and insular Quaker girl.
I taxonomized the nation’s flora.
How could I name her Fellow?
I didn’t wait till everyone was gone
to erase it and write in
Honorary Member. It was justice.
Nature hadn’t made her one of us.
Then came her King of Denmark’s medal.
She had to be called equal,
even lacking parts.