How Scientists Speak to Scientists

by Jessica Rae Bergamino

Bravado of bacteria, syllables
of blood, algorithms
in skirts and sensible heels –
we’re made to swell
in the vocabulary
that builds the world.
This, we say, pointing
our little red lasers
to diagrams of star
spit shine. This, we say,
quivering on panels
with slides of jellyfish
in gentle billow, of viruses
opening to bloom.
We believe in heavens
but not heaven, virtuoso
but not virtue. Night
is only the relationship
of earth to sky; love,
oxytocin’s rush
to the nervous center.
And while nothing numbs
like grief’s thin threads
bisecting the smallest cells,
the mind’s response
to new words learned
in its wanting mouth
is electric as the body
tangled in sex, faces red,
wet as meat. What sweet,
terrifying things, these rough
animals of our bodies,
addicted to pleasure
and the quiet accumulation
of words to define our pain.
What simple crises return me
to the terror of you,
to hypotheses for forgiveness,
to wanting a value for y.

JESSICA RAE BERGAMINO is the author of several chapbooks, most recently The Desiring Object or Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them (Sundress Publications). Individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, Slice, Poetry Daily, and West Branch.