Untamed Science

I wrote this poem in my head while doing little tasks around the lab that didn’t require my full mental attention.  I think a lot about what a strange environment a science lab is.  It’s not the environment of the stereotypical “mad scientist”, it’s just a work environment with a lot of sterile equipment and chemicals. But the work done in the lab is still peculiar; all these little tasks to understand minute details of the universe.  There’s something incredible about understanding the universe in great detail, but also, at least for me, something unbelievable.

I work with the unknown,

this sounds adventurous,

the cluttered blacktop benches

with bottles of strange clear, yellow, orange liquid

could be a choose-your-own-adventure-story.

Will this liquid cause physical harm?

Probably not.

Probably shouldn’t try though.


I work with the untamed,

now I make it sound mysterious,

but I can’t help but stare

at the microscopic spores

and wonder if they want to

crawl out of the petri dish

and colonize the exotic world.


I work with the unidentified,

it’s a little like code-breaking

except my codes only

involve four little letters: A G C T,

can’t spell many words

with only four little letters,

but you can apparently write the

instructions for life.


I work with the uncertain,

most times, the uncertainty flows from me,

How can minuscule bacteria

take down entire orchards of trees.

How do those four little letters

create cells and proteins.

I am a doubting Thomas,

sometimes unbelieving in the

magic we call science.

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