Meryl Natchez

In Praise of Research

Here’s to the researcher’s neck arched over the microscope
with the single-mindedness of a horse bent to its oats
hour after year in the chemical room of the lab
decoding the origin of a sub-family of mosquito 
that only lives sealed in the London underground,
or Marie Curie burning her hands over and over
in the luminous blue-green glow of the radium she extracted
before anyone knew it was there
or what it could do,
or the scholar holed up in the library carrel 
to work out the meaning of the “the.”
Quinine, X-rays, meaning itself, the way the world
is constructed of waves and particles and a something else
we can’t agree on—that time stretches and light bends—
and like horses in traces
impelled by the will of our kind
we bend our necks to it
as hungry for knowledge
as for grain from a loving hand.