Jeneva Burroughs Stone

soft bellies of infants come to mind

                                all unprotected flesh rounded to touch

smell of their fine hair like cilia prompts

                                   uterine clench, staunch of breath obstinate

questionings of sense and outward things

                                      a maker central centromere, an X that

forms as chromosomes double and

                                         thicken: a mutagenic sea unseen nothing

can bring back the hour now drowsy

                                            with creative energy we look down from

high cliffs while shearing gusts

                                              ripple a surface nosing the shore falling

back, fading to what floats beyond

                                                the surf, birth is but a sleep and a forgetting

while ribonucleic acid makes its way

                                                   a clipper rolling with the swell, parting

double strands of whatever may

                                                       happen or come to being, to replicate

the moment, a linguistic intention

                                                        letters ACGT have no primal sympathy

no patience for endless imitation as if

                                                          their whole vocation were to repeat not

quite those things that had been said

                                                           before as this messenger along a frozen

sea of beauty in division, snips parent

                                                              from parent prepares for recombination

some fragment a hastening or quickening

                                                               from a dream of human life not yet precise

in the telling rigging chance poetics

                                                                  as sailors might rounding Cape Horn lashed

to the mast unprotected flesh braced

                                                                    for the moment somatic seas clash, stipple

of salt water splendor before nucleo-

                                                                      tides swell and recede, attach disentangle

genetic ropes and leads, chromosomes

                                                                       fading to fetal strands, curling invisible

for now intimations, tangles of heredity


[Lines in italics are samplings from William Wordsworth’s poem, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality.”]

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