“The Scientific Process” By Zachary Bradley (2015)

Collins Literary Prize Winner, Poetry (2015)

Ants can withstand 5,000 times their weight,
a strength attracting the envy of man.
But still, even the strongest backs can break.

I glue heads to a centrifuge and wait
for the force of spinning to make neck snap,
“Ants can withstand 5,000 times their weight.”

We’re making new robotics and they’re aimed
to kill because weapons are in demand.
We know even the strongest backs can break.

In Giza, they dragged limestone blocks for days
and died piling them into ant-hill-stacks.
Men can’t withstand 5,000 times their weight.

It’s a wonder built and polished by slaves,
three tombs for pharaoh’s bones with jewels in hand,
because even the richest backs can break.

A sultan scraped away the limestone face
and now the stones are lining his mosque’s halls.
Ants can withstand 5,000 times their weight,
but still, even the strongest backs can break.

This poem first appeared in the 2015 edition of LRR.

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