Ballad of the research student

To whom it may concern, I am a student in my prime
who takes great interest in your field; I long to spend my time
working in your lab – I’m good at science, after all –
I love me some statistics, I work hard and I don’t stall!
Playing many sports at once has taught me how to plan
and I’ve read all your papers – trust me, I’m your biggest fan!
All my volunteering’s taught me how to be mature –
with me on your team I know that you’ll find all the cures.

…To whom it may concern, I’m just a teen afraid to fail;
maybe if you hire me, I’ll finally exhale!
If by some chance I do succeed, then maybe I can die
as part of a solution, not a cashier selling pie.
Playing many sports has taught me how to give up sleep
and I’ve stalked you on Linkedin like a true internet creep.
My busy, involved schedule has robbed me of my friends
so damn, I hope this job works out as well as I intend!


PS. I did end up getting a research assistant position, although funnily enough this was not the cover letter I submitted to the professor in question.

PPS. The “teen” part is no longer accurate, though I wrote this when I was still a teen… now I don’t have that excuse for being bad at being an adult anymore… grr.


These days

I am afraid when the chords of a song
stir my scattered feelings as they sweep along
into a faint memory of a joy
that even reality can’t quite destroy
and I realize the time it’s called forth is long lost,
that for feeling this glow there must now be a cost,
but I can’t stall my thoughts, try as hard as I might,
my smile a cheap remnant to which I’ve no right.

I’m afraid when I lay down to rest come night,
to see muddles of faces, hands reaching, eyes bright,
hear a roar that could be as dumbly benign
as empty white static, or could be a sign
of the dawn of an all-too-human storm –
and that’s when the worries begin to swarm.
Which do I hear? Well, I can’t really say;
depends on the weather, depends on the day.

I’m afraid that I cling to the masks we display
not out of trust, but to keep well at bay
thoughts of the future, of life’s breadth and speed
for as long as I still claim to know what I need.
I’m afraid when I open my mouth to speak,
feel the pressure of all I’d say, were I less weak;
see it dancing, unborn – flying leaps, landings sore –
done pretending it’s weightless, it pounds freedom’s door.

I’m afraid to lock eyes with people I know;
if things were this different, would they tell me so?
My mind and my stomach pull cartwheels in sync;
my eyes pealed for doubt, I can feel my voice shrink.
See, I fear most of all that you’ll throw me a rope,
that for the first time I will let myself hope,
that you’ll say to see, I can’t dread being seen,
and that I’ll leave my limbo for life’s in-between.