In Research By Sophia Liu

In Research

Mounds of dead Drosophila sit underneath my ceiling light. They are just
alimentary canals & Malpighian tubules & fused ganglia.

Our teacher explains that we freeze the Drosophila after we
conduct our studies. So when we accept our

null hypotheses, we watch hundreds of fruit flies drop like daily rainfall.

The first thing I purposely killed was a Maine lobster. Wiggled it
out of its rubber bands and pushed a knife right through

its cranium. Flesh still settling into death, it became a
disposed cephalon & an anterior ganglion & a broken nerve cord.

My father, Thank you for helping.

Then, that day, he told me as a did you know;
but my mother, who tells me death is just another lunar eclipse, stayed silent.

I thought of us, in research, heating glucose
every mid-winter afternoon to feed the Drosophila. Cleaning their tubes

in the spring. Scraping every wing and leg into the trash and you,
a body distance away from me—watching those ashy bodies pile.

You’d breathe a sigh that our projects are completed. You’d
ask me my answers to yesterday’s geometry test, nodding.

Two years ago we would have been research partners. I would have
told you that there must be a reason that we were made to hold

four-chambered hearts & central nervous systems & lungs.
Despite the unexpected. Despite that even if death is the moon’s revolution,

it stamps a finger up our backs regardless. Despite that
we justify existence as a taxonomy tree, choose Drosophila as a model for our bodies.

Only thinking. Only praying that the moon dissolves in the sun’s streams.

By Sophia Liu


Sophia Liu lives in New York. Her poems and art appear or are forthcoming in the Perch, Storm Cellar, the Ekphrastic Review, Whispering Prairie Press, Underblong, opia, and elsewhere. She has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the National Council of Teachers of English, Smith College, and Hollins University. She volunteers as a teacher for the Princeton Learning Experience and wants a pet cat.

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