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I'm Something of a Scientist Myself

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

By Gretchen Rockwell


I don’t say this because I have written about black holes, carcinization, iridescence, narwhals,

acacias, prehistoric birds, etc.—though I have //


My constant questioning // identity / is always in flux / like energy flowing as photons / through


Variables/Control of Variables

I used to dream of being / a marine biologist, studying chittering dolphins / or deep-sea fish—

dream of descending / into the lightless sea till I could believe I was / the only human in the

world // in second grade I helped design a diorama of a kelp forest / a crinkled streamer each

stem, carefully colored / fish dotting each layer // I wanted to feel real / leaves sweep my cheeks,

hair clouding undersea / like a mermaid or a dream // I wanted it so much / I could scream—

— & like waking from chloroform / that ambition was released, discarded by cold reality //

perhaps in a parallel universe—though I don’t know // that’s for the physicists to figure // all I

can decipher / is why my trachea constricts when I discover something / previously unknown


I investigate myself thoroughly / probe & dissect / each thought & motivation // everything slides

/ under the microscope // I reject panaceas & placebos / delving into what they cannot cure


[caught in—

—the absence, everything]


Any discovery exists to be explained // hypotheses hover patiently & conclusions will be drawn /

in time // give anything enough time & it will evolve / fractals fracturing old explanations //

a good scientist knows how to watch / & wait / & later / write what it all means


Gretchen Rockwell is a queer poet who can frequently be found writing about gender, science, space, and unusual connections. Xe is the author of the chapbooks body in motion (perhappened press) and Lexicon of Future Selves (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press) and two microchapbooks; xer work has appeared in AGNI, Cotton Xenomorph, Whale Road Review, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere. Find xer at or on Twitter at @daft_rockwell.

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