Marie Curie in Easton

By Lara Dolphin

Whether the children were enjoying the space, she had little doubt.
Still, she felt a curious dread as she wandered the museum,
filled with posters, screens and virtual spaces. 
It all seemed so busy, so frivolous.

She recalled with fondness her humble shed, not a proper laboratory to be sure, 
hot in summer, drafty in winter, leaky when it rained, 
but suited to the tasks of a curious mind, 
quiet and full of possibility.

What she wouldn’t give to be back in the Warsaw of her childhood
at her beloved Flying University studying in secret 
simply for the love of learning. “If simplicity is the sign of truth,” 
she wondered looking around, “where had it flown?”

Out of the side of her eye she spied a show set in a picture frame 
hanging by itself in a corner playing to no one, the dulcet tones of a minister’s
voice explaining how crayons are made. She watched mesmerized as hot wax,
hardener and pigment popped up into handfuls of bright yellow sticks.

Could it be that it is the noise of the past that shames us;
the present requiring nothing more than our faith? This moment, 
she thought, rolling a crayon in her palm as she once rolled 
a slender cylinder of radium, is volatile, violable waiting to be discovered. 

Lara Dolphin is an attorney, nurse, wife and mom of four amazing kids; she is exhausted and elated most of the time.

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