The Carbon Snake
In grade 6, our science teacher did an experiment.
The abstract was dull: an introduction to core concepts
(‘chemical reactions’ and ‘what is a catalyst?’)
but when she materialised at her demo bench
in elasticised safety goggles and a stiff lab coat
the effect was magical – results became more important
than explanations and control. Something was
added, at a plopped, arms-length height
to whatever was boring in her big beaker –
a hush, even the beginnings of guffaws of
disappointment from the sceptics in the back row,
and then – a jack-in-the-box column of tar and tumult –
curling steam, and the slinky-like formation of a bend.
Being too young to recast it as a bulging cock,
for weeks afterwards, it was the unending turd,
pushed out against gravity, in striving reverse.
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art'