The Natural World by Erin Rice
One day in science class we used a copper wire
and a lemon to make a tiny light bulb light.
The teacher showed us why and how,
but later we could not re-spin his sense
to remember the reason it worked.
One day I found a frog lying belly-up
in a tray on my desk. His hands and feet,
stuck through with pins, were outstretched,
welcoming my knife, inviting me to undo
all the order inside him.
When I slit apart his wilted paper-skin
to expose the pale mess within,
I saw it, the mucus-yellow mass,
and immediately I had to know
what makes cells grow where they should not,
what copper outline turns on the gene
that makes that protein fold.
The frog jumped up from his formaldehyde pit
and peeled back his skin
to show me the life-damning ball of cells.