Bottles - Erin Doyle

See-through wings and
Red eyed heads
Float like dust
In the light

Pigments leak from 
Blue and green shells
Staining the alcohol yellow

Replace it with fresh
Ethanol that chills through
Gloved fingers
Vanishes into air
Leaving a scent of 
Sweetness that burns

Separate by
Morphospecies and date
Assign numbers instead of names

Write labels in 
Pencil and 
Number lids with
Black ink

Pull legs off with 
Flamed tweezers to 
Send to

Then pack in
Mason jars and
Leave in a 
Non-sparking fridge

PCR Idol - Erin Doyle

Toy plastic,
Pink cactus costume wearing bear,
Personal PCR idol, 
Totem of laboratory Paganism.

You stand to four legged attention,
Ready to guard,
With your Japanese styled cuteness,
Bristled in darkened spikes,
Inhibitors and foreign DNA,

But I am a scientist,
So you do nothing, but
Lie forgotten in the orange shadows
Of running thermocyclers,
Collecting contaminants and dust.

I wipe you down with seventy-five percent ethanol,
And pack you away, 
To another sterile room,
Air thickened by humming machines and
Sweet smelling nucleic acid destroyers.

I used my own tips - Erin Doyle

  1. They have to be sterile.
  2. The black lines on the unbroken autoclave tape prove that my tips are sterile.
  3. The plastic tips have white filters on the inside. The filters keep the tips clean.
  4. An auto-pipette is used and stored upright. So nothing in the tip can touch the pipette. 
  5. The filter makes it impossible to fill the tip all the way up.
  6. The pipette should be clean.
  7. Except.
  8. The pipettes are shared.
  9. You can’t know if others keep the pipettes clean. Or, keep the lid closed on their tips. 
  10. DNA and inhibitors get inside when the lid is off.
  11. So I used my own tips.
  12. And, flooded the laminar flow with blue light, UV radiation.
  13. It reduced the risk of contamination.

Contributor's Note

Erin is currently working towards an MSc at the University of Waikato. Her creative work has appeared in JAAMBrief, and Mayhem.


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