It’s science’s nature to say sacrifice instead of kill

As in my friend who sacrifices five mice a day 

in lab to cure some type of cancer. She’ll

play her role as God would, order fifty more. Obey

humane responsibilities. Some days forgetting 

to think about ruin or bodies easily 

manipulated, she is bloodletting—

must wear a mask and gloves, civilly

searches for specifics with months-old blood 

on her white coat. Sometimes she finds herself 

holding their bodies as she wishes to be: flawed,

still held at night alone after the fourth 

evening shift—close to the skin of her 

hands but never exactly quite touching there. 


Hands (but never exactly quite) touching, there

the mice sedated enough not to know

the difference between what is real—here, 

her plastic hands, the heat between the low 

incandescent burn of white light or miles 

away sun—or real enough. Sometimes 

she dreams about dying, meeting her self

with God—Him holding her in those grains

of one golden, sterile field. I have questions 

about the dead. Bodies. Constant need for attention. 

Sunday, a toddler fell into a well. Casualties

my friend does not look up to question,

instead grasps another needle, injects 

Specimen 766 with those liquid-cold contents.


Specimen 766 with those liquid-cold contents

shakes straight to its veins. Fifty in, fifty out

my friend says. Silently, the toddler fell. Attempts

to fill the days as long as land’s overnight

mirroring of sky, the floods came. All cloud.

All heft of no crop on the farmers’ shoulders. 

They said God sees all things, has plans. Drought

and facts never change and summer smolders

God’s mighty voice the same as the toddler, 

saying Let there be light when light never 

once shone through. Somewhere, a mother

holds a body that fell into a well; with pressure

a researcher rubs death into what is tranquil.

It’s science’s nature to say sacrifice instead of kill