One afternoon, in a third world lab

Poetry by | June 17, 2012

I catch you bite your lip while you inspect
the test tube if it has cracks
and scratches. But I would like to believe
that you just check how well it resembles
your finger,and you remember how pleasurable
is your finger as it lingers on a thing
that doesn’t touch back, or sometimes,
on a thing that grips by surprise.
Behind you, I watch and enjoy the scene
as I pretend to boil the liquid inside
this round-bottom flask. Then you turn
to look at me, and I quickly pick
the thermometer to check the rise
in temperature of the boiling liquid
until it distills and purifies. I, too,
wish to purify my feelings into impulse.
I can see in the edges of my eyes that you
are glancing. And when it’s my turn to glance,
you get back washing your test tube,
by plunging the brush, in and out,and in, ahh
and out, ahh, and wet bubbles flow. In my seat,
I am intoxicated by the familiar smell of vapor
and the smell of something that, I know, comes
from you, comes from you, comes, come, com…
…until the rusty iron clamp breaks,
the erlenmeyer flask falls and spills some
unknown broths on the floor. The room echoes
the sounds of broken glass and a lady’s moan.
Until all I can utter is, ”sorry, this is just
a third world lab”. And you take me by surprise
with your response, ”It’s getting dark.
Would you like to finish this somewhere else?”


Paul Randy P. Gumanao studied BS Chemistry at AdDU.

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