Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2015  Vol. 14 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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There’s a way to insert DNA into the
heart of a cell (yes it has a heart, a way
of breathing into the blood), to eliminate
particle gum, ringspot virus, or late blight.
The undesirable. The tiny things that Van
Leeuwenhoek was the first to describe.
They all have a right to shrivel crops.
Turn earth to swirling dust. Choke the

hummingbird. Attract the worst kind of
wiry mandibles. The world has its chewy
sounds we were born to hear. What good
is the unknown? Let’s say we insert a new
gene, coyly penetrate a cell membrane,
find just the right spot on a helix, and do
a switch. There’ll be happier chickens, less
hairy pigs, taller corn, a wheat that plinks

like a harp in wind, the bread it makes filled
with song. But how do we change each other?
Where we touched that first time still glows
like something in a centrifuge, still finds its way
into marrow and nerve, rewinding helix after
helix. Because that’s what it means to keep
adding the new. Again and again. Without harm.
Shyness in sun. Or unexplained meanness.  end  

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