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‘[82] Lead’ first appeared in Sarah Holland-Batt (ed.), Island Magazine 153 (June 2018) and was the featured poem in Holland-Batt’s column in the Weekend Australian’s Arts Review of 3 April 2020: ‘Of poetry and biochemistry’. It also appeared in Tricia Dearborn's Autobiochemistry (UWAP, 2019).

[82] Pb  Lead

Inorganic chemistry lab. A rack of test tubes

filled with colourless solutions.


Drops of another transparent liquid added.

In each tube, something new appears:


a precipitate, an insoluble solid,

which may be crystalline, curdy, colloidal;


may float as a flocculent mass, or plummet

brightly coloured to the bottom.


I was blind to my feelings for my friend.

One drunken night recognition bloomed.                  


Add a drop of lead nitrate to potassium iodide:

a canary bursts forth from a clear sky.