Deming, Alison

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Dec-10-1996


The narrator remembers a science fair she participated in as a child. The projects presented were diverse. One boy weighed mice before and after killing them in order to measure the weight of the soul. Another made an atom smasher. A girl made cookies from Euglena. The narrator rubs the tar of cigarettes into the shaved backs of mice in order to discover the tremulousness of life.

The narrator says she recalled the fair because the dusky seaside sparrow just became extinct, though its cells are frozen at Walt Disney in case it is ever learned how they may be cloned. She concludes by noting that the cookies won the prize.


The poem's message is that science can be both our death and our hope. Busy studying atoms, we disregard the extinction of other species. But that same science may some day re-incarnate the birds, just as Euglena provides a new, easily available food source, helping many.

Primary Source

Science and Other Poems


Louisiana State Univ. Press

Place Published

Baton Rouge