Lab Exercise #6: Embryonic Chick Dissection

Written by Richard Coca (‘22)

Fidgeting under the microscope, I came to see clearly

What appeared to be a beating heart. Soon after I could hear it.

It is usually recommended to - not bond - with your lab animals, especially considering the results.

At your insistence, I stumbled back into that room

After leaving it to find my integrity; to find my ethics;

it had slowed down already, practically dead.

I tried again. I injected it. I hurt it in the process.

My mouth blew the very same dye that would trace its development—

Except it died; its soul stood there, incubating, waiting still,

alive, never to hatch.

In that moment, I remembered seeing each red blood cell pass by.

In that moment, everything was still, but the heart.

The heart of life unborn - of potential yet to hatch - it moved.

I sat as you stood to watch over my shoulder;

And as you advised me on how to proceed with the injection, all I could hear was its heart.

I lived for it. I live for it - my only thought then -,

Why must life be lost for it to be gained?

About the Author

A dark horse and a workhorse, Richard strives towards bettering himself and helping others on the way. He understands that perfection is a process and one that isn’t necessarily easy. In his free time, Richard enjoys volunteering to better his community and provide better opportunities to other. He enjoys bridging the gap between the sciences and the general public. When you are free, shoot him an email about biology, books, or even how your day is going. Contact Richard Coca at