The researchers couldn’t do without it,
so fungible, holder of the things
they want to observe, things they need to contain.
Originally made of glass, then polystyrene,
next given injection-molded ribs for stiffness—
handy strongbox for the unruly and weird.
One of them takes pipette and lab tweezers to the dish,
deposits the seed of a body part. She will cultivate this
like her Martha Washington geraniums.
On the inner flat of the dish, disembodied human
tear glands grow. The dish confines,
efficiently clasps without limbs.
The other researcher has hit on the cocktail
of neurotransmitters to make them cry. She drips
it into the dish over many days and the tear glands
swell with un-cried tears. The ribs of the dish are silent,
unmoved; the dish lacks tear ducts,
so the tears build furiously inside the organoids,
they balloon almost to bursting—the dish blocks
them firmly, its borders unbreachable.
Finalist, Winter 2022 Poetry International Tiny Chapbook Competition