Petri Dish

Nutrients abound in a Petri dish.
A few introduced microbes
multiply by dividing.
Thriving in ideal ambience,
numbers rise by powers of two,
spread across available space.

Growth reaches the edge,
but still organisms pile up,
each stratum striving to survive,
all individuals competing
for dwindling resources.

Meanwhile, excreted waste
accumulates where there’s
nowhere safe to isolate it;
toxic remains sicken and kill
succeeding generations.
The once-rich culture dies.





olsenDavid Olsen’s Unfolding Origami won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award. Past Imperfect, his second full-length collection, is forthcoming from Cinnamon Press. Three poetry chapbooks are from US publishers. His work appears in leading journals and anthologies in North America and Europe. A playwright and poet with a BA in chemistry from University of California-Berkeley and an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, Olsen was formerly an energy economist, management consultant, and performing arts critic. He has lived in Oxford since 2002. For additional information, visit: