John Tyndall Experiments with Infusions of Fowl and Kidney
Alexis Vergalla

We measure the movement of dust,
air stirred and kicked.
In tubes, the rotating galaxies of infection --

Until 1868 I did not intentionally reverse
the process, and employ a luminous
beam to reveal and examine

and I think, remember the teeth,
the hand that swelled bruise purple
and pus? The mark fades

but is there, under scrutiny.

Beside it, the white gash from last winter
where metal bit quickly and blood rose
to the surface. Telling my story would be easier

if I could show you the history of skin. Quantitative
increments of this-is-how-it-disappears. The flakes
settled to window ledges, by such gentle currents
the floating particles are gradually brought
into contact with all the surrounding surfaces.
To these they adhere.

was a corner I used to walk around,
heading home, and each time I thought
about the paleness of my body
in the empty hallway, our faces askew. The corner

is only a corner now, bent grass stalks.
A street sign's metal pole leaning.

I'm sorry Tyndall, I am returning to you.
There are numbers and charts
to examine. Your luminous beam

to focus. Your countless infusions made of
hay, kidney, sole. As if you could come up with something
different eventually -- something that would remain
clean and sterile. Each time, all the exposed
tubes were distinctly turbid.
How could you expect
to keep anything untouched, perfectly transparent?