Science  Write  Now

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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.