Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Chemistry Set

by Hazel Mutch

To use this gift properly you need
obedient hands, fixed eyes,
a shut mouth, open ears.                      
You must be certain never
to drop things or make mistakes.
You must not mix up substances
or get excited and create
explosions, unless planned carefully.
You must show you can follow
an instruction to the letter.
Anybody grubby, clumsy or volatile
must stay away from glass tubes
and precious elements.
Not all birthday presents
can be treated like toys you know.
If you cannot wait indefinitely
and promise perfection
you are simply not good enough.
Some girls and boys are, and
some are not. You have only yourself
to blame if later your reactions
are unstable, you panic and flare up
when tested, if you are unable
to stop saying no to everything
and threaten to evaporate.

Added: 26.04.2011