She points a stick at the blackboard.
It must have taken some time with
The colored chalk
To get it just right -
The structure of a cell,
The orange mitochondria floating
In a baby blue nucleus
In a bath of matter, a
Pool of programmed instructions:
Make a brain, a heart
Make me walk and talk
Make us love
Hard to believe at the time, but
I listened, thinking
Why does this matter?
Why does this matter when
Trees are dying
Animals are starving
Why does a cell and a textbook matter at all?
These things all connect.
It took me years but I get it -
So many different kinds of cells
The tangled nerve cells
The rounded egg cells
The long, narrow plant cells sucking chlorophyll -
It's all the same for each
Bark, skin, fur
I see it now, and it clicks, but
Not so viscerally as a finger
With its many types of cells,
But a vast plain and rocks to climb
I can stand up and get there, to the top of the mountain
I can get down to the dust,
There is a nucleus there, in the stone
Once born from a tiny shard of shell
A mollusk, perhaps, an ammonite -
Intelligent life, shadow of a cell.