Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cell Division

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.

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