2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

For today’s prompt, write an under the microscope poem. By that, the poem could be about something actually under the microscope–like single-cell organisms or leaves–or it could be more like “being under the microscope” in other people’s eyes.

Here’s my attempt:

“Blood Work”

Every vein, every blood vessel,
every electron orbiting its
nucleus–I was never the white blood
cell you expected. When all the data
flooded back from the laboratory,
what was I but an injured molecule
passing into your heart and out again.


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412 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

  1. AC Leming


    Conceived in a petri-dish,
    a bit of this chromosome, a dash of that.
    I’m neither homo nor sapien.
    I’m more than human, and less.

    Spliced together
    while some nameless scientist played God.
    I survive space without the mutations
    which would cost the company
    in lawsuit settlements.

  2. Christod

    Baby Particles

    I imagine Fantasia playing out
    in your womb, with a magical
    swoosh and spark that brings
    to life stars, baby parts,
    and a fantastical new feat.

    You just want a heartbeat.

  3. jendorf13

    The Stranger

    Steps into the unfamiliar
    Eyes focus then avert
    Some focus persists
    Becomes stronger
    Discomfort may reveal
    Prejudice, fear, distrust
    A smile brings
    An adjustment to the lens

    By Joanne Endorf

  4. po

    Strange by True

    Go to the Bloomington Biology
    Lab at Indiana University
    and under their electron micro-
    scopes you can watch the
    process of photosynthesis
    as it happens.
    Spent hours in the lab
    looking at slices of nature
    under this microscope
    of joy. I was a strange kid.

  5. seingraham

    A Life Unexamined

    fragments of my life
    are splayed
    on so many sites now
    i don’t want to turn
    the infernal
    machine on

    afraid that parts of myself
    may spill off the screen
    slide like swamp goop
    slimy and fetid

    details somewhere
    between veracity
    and total prevarication
    snipped free of whole cloth

    to take just a scraping
    a mitochondrial sized bit
    smoosh it between two tiny
    panes of glass

    and affix
    beneath the lens
    of my microscope
    hold fast my breath
    fussing with the focus
    bringing what’s blurred

    like the history of who
    i believed i was
    trying to reconcile
    what i see with who
    i think i am

    wondering all the while
    what social media
    has to do with any of it

  6. Arrvada

    You Ever
    You ever have that feeling
    That every move you make
    Every word you speak
    Is scrutinized and judge
    Analyzed and dissected
    Like you’re some alien specimen
    For the world to pry apart?
    Every day I walk
    With the feeling if I look back
    I will see someone there
    Recording me
    Questioning me
    Judging me
    I live a life under a microscope
    And organism on a slide
    Is it all in my mind?
    Or is someone watching me?
    Does God record every little thing?
    Every thought?
    If He does
    That really scares me

  7. Yolee

    He is Gone

    Slowly it comes,
    the news,
    and you’re taken aback.

    Emotions pile in
    under the indigo
    scope of the sky.

    Actuality is the meat
    of a peach that will not
    go down sweet.

  8. RobHalpin


    “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me (and I have no privacy)” –from Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me”

    Traffic light
    and street corner cameras,
    black boxes
    in your car…
    how long until we all have
    THE mirror at home?

  9. Paoos69

    My Biological Love

    The lab was mesmerizing
    Cryptic, scented, not really appetizing
    The human skeleton hanging in one corner
    Its limbs dangling, its jaws in a wide grin

    Microscopes on every table
    To view dissections and label
    Protozoas and cell membranes
    Nuclei and endoplasms sane

    Mitochondria the cell’s power house
    Endoplasmic reticulum, the protein carrier mouse
    The ever protecting nuclear membrane
    The amoeba and pseudopods mundane

    Roots monocotyledonous
    Shoots dicotyledonous
    Pretty patterns, magical shapes
    Some straight, some in curious drapes

    The biology lab was one creative venture
    With placentas, ovaries and cockroach dentures
    Thin, thin slices seen under the microscope
    Nerve rings of earthworm
    And sunflower florets, yellow and firm

    Although my love for botany and zoology
    Didn’t really turn me into medical clergy
    I like to reminisce
    And think back nostalgically
    To those days of magical discovery

  10. Michelle Hed

    Derogatory Purgatory

    Sometimes the smallest comments
    can make one
    place themselves under the microscope
    to see if there is something
    below the surface
    that makes them so different –
    that they are placed at the forefront,
    catching all the hurtful, mean words
    like bullets, scattered around the room
    and feeling as if they are all alone.

  11. HannaAnna

    Lab Cat

    Rescued from a certain death
    brought here when I was young
    Painted everyday with beauty
    and medication
    Forced, injected, studied,
    I’m put under the glass
    some expirament
    The only thing they don’t consider in their tests
    is the pain I suffer
    the trauma
    so they can safely sell a product

  12. tunesmiff


    She keeps an eye on everything I do;
    I think she thinks I’ve found somebody new.
    Every little thing is another little clue,
    Yeah, she keeps an eye on everything I do.

    Nights when I’ve been working late,
    Before I make it through the gate,
    It’s like she can barely wait,
    To ask if I’ve been on a date.

    And if I run to the hardware store,
    She wants to know what I went for,
    She thinks if after something more,
    Than what I need for some durn chore.

    She keeps an eye on everything I do;
    I think she thinks I’ve found somebody new.
    Every little thing is another little clue,
    She keeps an eye on everything I do.

    By now you’d think she’d know me,
    That she’d trust me further than she could throw me,
    If she’s got proof I wish she would show me…
    Yeah, by now you’d think the girl would know me.

    She comes and goes as she sees fit,
    And me? I’m quite alright with it,
    When she calls, I come lickety-split,
    Don’t know why she thinks I can’t commit…

    She keeps an eye on everything I do;
    I think she thinks I’ve found somebody new.
    Every little thing is another little clue,
    She keeps an eye on everything I do.

    I can’t check my e-mail,
    I can’t take a call;
    She’s got to know the details,
    She’s got to know it all,…

    She keeps an eye on everything I do;
    I think she thinks I’ve found somebody new.
    Every little thing is another little clue,
    She keeps an eye on everything I do.

    Why it’s so, I wish I only knew…
    She keeps an eye on everything I do.

  13. ellanytdavve


    Lilah, my lovey
    why have you left me
    to live with that loser, Larry?

    I feel like microscopic vermin
    under your giant feet.
    My rights are wronged
    my ire, rudely risen
    to rile my usually
    rosey heart.

    Oh, Lilah,please don’t go.
    I’ll give you the golden goose,
    the gamma yamma of
    the gonged universe if you’ll
    get on with me , Lilah my love.

    I see you’re not convinced.
    That look of wilting wrath is
    my warning of impending war.
    I’ll go, now. Nothing , no nothing
    could make me your nemesis for life.
    I’m gone, we’re nil,
    don’t call.

  14. Arike

    Idle Speculation

    How many atoms do your feathers have?
    Do electrons stream through your veins?
    Do you have quantum neurons in your brain?
    Zero and one efficiently stored
    What sort of body do angels have?
    Dancing on the head of a pin
    What music would be played?
    When a high screech sounds like whalesong
    What would they want to hear?

  15. Caren


    How many parts of me have been studied,
    X-rayed, put under a microscope? Brain,
    Spinal fluid, blood, urine, bones, lungs, skin,
    Tendons, cartilage, eyes, ears, teeth, hormones
    Top to bottom, hands and feet, front to back
    Even my thoughts and feelings analyzed
    Countless hours waiting, testing, waiting
    Again, for results that may or may not
    Result in answers. We’re ruling it out,
    They say, but I say, they don’t have a clue.

    Caren E. Salas

  16. cam45237

    Under the microscope

    Run your precision ground glass eye over me
    Fingers to toes, knees to shoulders, neck to nose.
    Find and catalog my imperfections
    From the over-large freckle near my cheek,
    To the loose hair clinging to my shoulder.
    Linger on the dry skin on my heels and elbows
    And the scar at my throat.

    Your fabled attention to detail,
    Your vaunted ability to see right through me,
    The mythic myopia of your singularly scientific sight
    May leave you connecting unconnected dots
    With a permanent black marker
    Unable to ever understand
    The sum of my parts.

  17. mschied

    Being Watched

    He sits there

    A silent spector

    Clacking doom in swift strokes

    Persperiation trickles in mocking tendrils
    down your face
    as clammy hands clench involuntarily

    You try to speak, but your breath hitches
    choked on you fear and paranoia

    Each tick of the clock sounds a death knell
    the final dissolution of hopes, aspirations, future

    In the back, your fate snaps shut with a click

  18. Mary Mansfield

    Blood Diamond

    Her carefully measured words
    Are always monitored
    For any hint of rebellion,
    Her dependence on him
    Crucial to his master plans.
    The ring on her left hand
    A mark of his ownership;
    Her life,
    Her body,
    Her blood,
    All his for the taking,
    Sacrificed on his altar of cruelty.
    A rumpled bed,
    A sullen glance,
    A dinner served five minutes late,
    All reasons show why
    A woman needs to kept in line
    By whatever means necessary.
    Tonight, however,
    She will reap
    Her carefully measured revenge,
    And the blood sacrificed
    Won’t be hers.

  19. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Reading Stone

    If you google “microscope” you’ll learn
    that the first one, called a reading stone,
    was invented by someone whose name
    we don’t know about one thousand AD
    and intended to magnify written words
    for those whose eyesight was impaired
    enough to need such a marvelous stone.

    As we all know, technology constantly
    changes, exponentially growing better.
    By the time Mark Twain came along
    he could write a character into a story
    who falls asleep after looking through
    a microscope with his child and seeing
    fascinating creatures in a water drop.

    In his dream this person, Henry, finds
    himself aboard a ship plying darkness
    where sea monsters threaten to swamp
    them, so they sail from the Great Dark
    to escape but end up beaching the ship
    in the searing heat of white light intense
    enough to blind and dehydrate them.

    Twain never finished this story, but
    after his death Bernard De Voto did
    it for him; thus I was able to read it
    in graduate school. It’s fitting, I think
    that something invented a millennium
    ago as a reading stone would wind up
    a microscope to read about in a story.

  20. JRSimmang

    A View from Heaven, or Why I am so Small

    I never stopped to ask him why.
    This little child, rocking on his heels,
    tormenting the glasses in the corner,
    throwing insults intended to mar and maim,
    still rocks in my dreams.
    He is one of a thousand.
    He is one of a kind.
    And yet, here he is, aggressive and loud,
    striking the ground with a closed fist.
    He has been moved, three
    five times since the bell first rang.
    He sits here with me now.
    We sit for a time,
    silence being the conversation.
    Then, without warning, his mouth starts to chew his words,
    slow distaste spreading quickly.
    His mother, dependent on a new high,
    refuses to answer the pleas buzzing through her high static.
    His father, behind the irons shackled around his wrists,
    cannot be troubled for fear of non-rehabilitation.
    He had dreams, he tells me.
    He had dreams of running and playing and singing.
    He had dreams of food and clean showers to wash away this
    I begin to notice the small bruises on his arms,
    the small stains on his shirt,
    the small spots of tarnished childhood
    smeared across his faded jeans.
    His shoes have no soles.
    His nails are used to hard work.
    The cuts on his knuckles and knees
    scream to me.
    Then, without warning, he stops.
    His mouth, with its jagged scar, stops moving.
    He stands, watches me from behind my glasses,
    and leaves.

  21. Pat Carroll Marcantel

    Close Inspection: Biology of Emotion 101

    Today, class, we shall inspect emotion’s

    effect upon our bodies.Did you know great

    emotion, sometimes referred to as “trauma,”

    is stored in your muscles? Did you know

    that pressing and probing in and around those

    muscles can produce a great production of tears–

    you know, those wet things that tend to run

    down your face, funnel down your neck and

    beyond? And then there’s the heart, the most

    important muscle of all. How does it take

    emotional trauma? The heart experiences

    an actual hurting and heart-break, both

    sensations that you will feel viscerally, oh

    definitely viscerally, perhaps even like a blow

    to the solarplexis, or a crack in your sternum

    between your breasts. The crack will be audible

    to you alone.You will feel it with such intensity

    that you are sure any other person in the room

    hears it too. But no, it’s only audible to you. Wait for it.

    It will come. You will not die but you will have a glimpse

    into what death feels like. Learn the following words and

    practice them now: “Live, Laugh, Love”– and exercise.

    Yes, prepare your muscles for great emotion. Now we

    will go into the lab and use the microscopes.

  22. omavi

    Unwanted Scrutiny

    I wanted to be perfect nor loved
    Or even liked
    Never wanted the spotlight or
    Limelight or recognition
    Overstepping that I am a man
    And should be respected
    Not as a right but a gift
    From you to me
    But everything else not wanted
    Or needed, nor requested or
    Asked to be some shining knight
    Or a role model
    Or hero
    Swooping in to make everything
    Proper and right
    I just want to be a man
    Now that is my

  23. Jamal Abboud

    Settle In My Heart

    Settle in my heart, swoon with my soul
    In a human delight, human after all,
    Where beauty blooms without bounds,
    Where flowers dance with no sounds,
    In a living soft drum, red, red-red
    Beats resonate a rhythm never been heard,
    With a flow of passion migrates red, red-red;
    O, this floods of regular love rhythm.
    It counts my sighs in cadence with them,
    When you packed memories, body and will,
    And departed countries late that evening,
    And returned with angels in a dew cell,
    On a harvest day, early one dear morning
    With songs of birds on kindled wings
    Invisible heavenly bliss, joyfully swings
    In meadows cradle that seems still;
    A bliss has chosen my heart to dwell,
    A human heart, a will with machine skill,
    That lives, loves and imitates a drowned bell.

  24. drwasy

    A Minister’s Wife

    Sundays when I sit
    in the front pew
    and listen to the words
    a path to God
    your hundred eyes
    bore into my back
    steel pinions
    a butterfly to velvet.

    Peace, LindaS-W

  25. Jaywig

    Day 21 – under the microscope

    Macro photography: God
    in the details

    What a discovery!
    An ant on a flower –
    a moth in a ball gown
    of crocheted lace –
    a harlequin bug
    magnified to beauty –
    a nail in an elm’s trunk –
    cobwebs – and new
    versions of old junk
    where before
    the flowers, the succulent,
    trees and bark, the pile
    of stuff, appeared
    as items, now
    looked at as access
    to a new universe.
    were filtered through
    the lens of largesse

  26. zevd2001


    I still don’t get it
    when people take folks like me
    off of the place I have been living
    for an eternity, carefully, to keep the skin
    intact, and put in some petri dish. Watching
    me. How embarrassing.

    They say it’s because
    There is something wrong about
    eating us. The planet earth is
    good enough for humankind. A tomato
    is fine with us . . . and

    if we end up among the greens, why
    should it bother anybody. Birds get to the vines, too

    it’s fact of life with us. Who will live and who will,
    what can I say. You have to give credit
    to some people, who care enough to
    give us a place underneath the eye
    of a microscope, a place to grow. I have known

    some of us get to laboratories
    where we they put us in drawers
    in file cabinets. It cool there . . . they also say

    the only reason people bring us there is to
    neuter us and send us back
    so we won’t reproduce. What a bummer,
    I’d rather be birdfood. That way

    we’d be part of the Great Chain of Being instead
    of Dustbin dwellers, with the flies and the ants
    crawling all over us. It’s the a matter of luck

    some of us are stars
    in awesome doctoral theses, a picture
    with the details of our family life . . .

    no such luck. This time
    it’s a birthday present, brand new,
    gotta try it out, just like
    in class at school. He found us in the vegetable bin,
    did everything he was supposed to do. Even
    a fresh petri dish with the right solution. Paradise,

    then wouldn’t ya’ know, his big sister comes by
    says, “Yuk, what’s that. Throw it away
    before it multiplies.” He’s thinking, maybe
    after he’s figured who we are he’ll do the right thing,
    take us where we can live again
    to the mulch pile.

    Zev Davis

  27. ina

    Very hard one for me to write. His death still hurts, nearly 30 years later.

    While I watched you dying

    The doctors wouldn’t touch you,
    so we took turns, watching
    your dying. You died before anyone
    knew what had invaded every
    cell, made you weak to all invaders.
    And yet, without knowing, I
    wished I could into your IV, plucked each
    knot of virus from each dying cell,
    conflagrated myself inside
    the sarcoma, just to let you
    breathe a little longer.

    1. ina

      So hard, apparently, that I couldn’t write it correctly. Here’s the corrected version with all the words intact.

      While I watched you dying

      The doctors wouldn’t touch you,
      so we took turns, watching
      your dying. You died before anyone
      knew what had invaded every
      cell, made you weak to all invaders.
      And yet, without knowing, I
      wished I could drain into your IV, pluck each
      knot of virus from each dying cell,
      conflagrate myself inside
      the sarcoma, just to let you
      breathe a little longer.

  28. Jane Beal - sanctuarypoet.net

    Faith is a fine invention
 / When Gentlemen can see—

    But Microscopes are prudent
 / In an Emergency.
    ~ Emily Dickinson


    Three baby birds in their nest
    suspended between rope and roof awning,
    yellow beaks open as they wait
    for their mother to return
    with food—

    I see you with my eyes
    through my kitchen window
    when I am standing at the sink,
    and with the microscope of my heart,
    I see your hungry longing.

    Jane Beal

  29. Khara H.


    You learn your bones are foreign to you now,
    that your marrow and your cells rebel like slaves
    in sugar cane fields knowing that the punishment
    for attacking the whites was death. Now

    the punishment in your bones is eating you
    like you, swallowing whole spoonfuls of rice
    dripping honey and sugar. I sit before you
    longing to cultivate the sugar cane inside you,

    longing to carry it to the sugar house,
    process the cane into crystal, for you,
    carried to ships, to ships that carry
    your enemy farther, farther away from your bones.

  30. Dan Collins

    Red Camellia

    Every spring there are two stories
    she tells me over an unadorned
    crystal punch bowl that sits
    in the middle of the table
    with four or five fresh Camellia
    blossoms floating on the surface.

    The first is about George,
    the most chivalrous
    man who ever lived. He would
    never let a lady, or even a girl
    like her leave his house in spring,
    without a Camellia
    he’d plucked from the bush himself.

    The other is about her.
    It always follows shortly.
    She was so shy in her twenties
    that she wouldn’t do a thing
    to attract attention;
    how badly she had wanted
    to snip a flower
    from the Camellia outside,
    to put it in his hands
    before they closed the casket.

  31. Rosangela

    New Lenses

    I’ll show you something
    Look closely
    It’s still too far
    Come closer
    More yet!
    Can you see now?
    Is it blurry?
    Don’t squint,
    just wide open your eyes.
    Observe the details,
    not only the big picture.
    What “What details?”?
    Don’t ask me that! You
    must see it now!
    Huh? Is all distorted?
    It cannot be!
    This is not what I was showing you!
    You must be using the wrong lenses!
    Change them!
    Now, can you see all the little things
    that make the whole?
    Isn’t that wonderful?
    You just had to change the lenses
    to see a totally different world!

  32. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    “I’m watching you”

    Beware of shish kebab vendors.
    They will rob you blind in New York!
    Tho’ the meat may be juicy and tender…
    Beware of shish kebab vendors.
    Before any money you surrender,
    put in some old-fashioned detective work.
    Beware of shish kebab vendors.
    They will rob you blind in New York!

    About an awful experience I had tonight in the city. I heard about it in the news but never thought it would actually happen to me. I had a hideous day all around but this just put me over the edge.

  33. Angie K

    .Inside the Cell

    Peering through the microscope, the diminutive cell seems
    more like a larger dwelling place, beyond my wildest dreams.
    The ruler is the nucleus, the center of it all,
    while the outer membrane makes a fence, forming quite a ball.
    What needs to be held in? Cytoplasm, so you see,
    while e. reticulum helps much to travel free.
    Ribosomes hold on then, just to make the ER rough,
    And we’re not quite sure how they can ever tell they’ve done enough.
    When things pass through the membrane, a new vacuole may form,
    And the Golgi Apparatus helps to ship it through the storm.
    How does the cell get energy to do these many things?
    Mitochondria, you see, can make the cell seem to have wings.
    Some cells may move, propelled by tiny cilia,
    Twirling little hairs that never seem to get their fillia.

    Who knew that just one cell had all these organelles,
    seeming not so simple now, like many clanging bells?
    But really, each of us is made of molecules and such,
    working hand-in-hand in ways that we can barely touch.
    The microscope can help me see that I am small indeed,
    like an organelle itself, helping to reach a world in need.
    God made cells, and He made me, though I can’t understand
    The workings at the nucleus of His amazing hand.

  34. vincegotera

    Mashed up your microscope prompt, Robert, with Maureen’s hay(na)ku at NaPoWriMo and Andrea’s palindrome at Circle the Blog PLUS Maureen’s homophonic translation (or translitic) from Day 12, and got this.

    Under the Microscope

        auto-translitic palindrome
        opening with a hay(na)ku

    Paramecium. Spirochetes.
    Algae. Planarian eyespots.

    Oh, gee. Plan your own ice pets.
    Pair of mice, yum. Spiral cats.
    I’m over.

    By Vince Gotera

  35. LCaramanna


    All germs on kindergarten fingers love
    art projects, tickled pink to hop on and off
    the drawing paper, hitch a ride as crayons,
    glue sticks, and glitter pass between classmates.
    More germs arrive on the ah choo of a sneeze spewed
    across the artwork, happy to enhance a masterpiece.
    All germs on kindergarten fingers mix and mingle
    with artists and friends – inevitable, invisible –
    until under the microscope,
    their identity reveals the need for soap suds.


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