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Small rockets crash every day,

at science fairs, in parking lots,

at White Sands Missile Range

where a grad student launches

her own nervous breakdown.

Scientists cry all the time.

They cry in the clean room

and the tears wet their masks,

and they can’t blow their noses

because the surfaces are sterile.

In the lab, when a foolhardy twinge

disturbs the surface of a pipette,

the human ribs ache, heat upsets

the atoms, results erase themselves,

the word “hypothesis” is a hiss.

Truth passes between worlds,

a game of telephone as long

as the dawn, as short as forever.