‘ 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).
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.