I am no longer jealous of the boys

you chose over me; instead

I drink in the sound of your laughter

strung to me on a wire, your kind

velcro voice, the way you

baby-talk to me, and I focus

on the fact that you are happy. Continue reading


these little talks [excerpt]

Our conversations, like a mirror

purring at itself, like unrolling two

yards of crackling aluminium foil and

slowly twisting it into a coiled silver

snake, like ordering something fragile

just for the sake of getting to pop

the bubble wrap: briefly satisfying and

wasteful. Continue reading

don’t you, white boy?

This morning, as I was walking into work, there was a raggedly-dressed man on the corner of the ped mall, alternately talking and shouting at passersby. It’s not the sort of spectacle you see often in Iowa City. Homeless panhandlers are usually little more than wallflowers quietly asking for spare cash.

But this man wasn’t asking for anything. Just wanted to get a reaction from people, the way you do when you’re angry at the world and feel like no one is listening to you. It’s the kind of aggressive engagement you do when you feel yourself becoming insignificant.

As I walked past him, I didn’t look at him,  but he called out to me all the same:

“Hey, you hate niggas?”

And, without looking at him, without even thinking about it, I said simply: “No. Just people.”

And he laughed, a quiet wheeze that stretched into a scraggly, throaty chuckle. I heard him laughing until the next person walked by him, and he said to them: “You hate niggas, don’t you, white boy?”

oughtism (47)

This time, I will not put myself
through the paces of disappointment.

Here, the sky turns pink,
a rosy, sleepy lavender
and makes the red dirt seem
to glow.

I think of you, and the dirt
beneath your feet, how it reaches
up to claim you.

You don’t have to be good.
You only have to come and walk
with me through the late day,
our shoes pushing the brown leaves aside,
our voices low in the gathering dusk.


reflections on conferences

When I found out that I would be attending two scientific conferences back-to-back in D.C., I have to admit that I wasn’t initially excited. At the smaller conference, ISDP, I would be presenting a poster, which was essentially a sad story about how my rotation project didn’t work out. The second conference, Society for Neuroscience, I knew would be huge, exhausting, and potentially extremely overwhelming. It honestly seemed kind of unappealing.

Now, waiting in the Washington airport for a flight home, I can confirm: yes, it was exhausting, enormous, and overwhelming. But it was also just what I needed.

There were 30,000 people at the Society for Neuroscience conference this year. We filled the entirety of the Walter E Washington convention center with posters, talks, nanosymposia, and exhibitors. At the smaller conference, I had the opportunity to meet and converse with developmental scientists from all over the world. I met and bonded with former lab members. My poster presentation went very well– much better than I expected.

These conferences gave me two things I had been lacking recently: inspiration and confidence. I walked away with so many ideas, so much new knowledge. And, for the first time, I actually felt like a competent scientist.

I’m actually excited to get back to the lab.