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 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.