Article in Arts / Literature / Poetry
Another in my sequence of poems entitled BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Beautiful Words: Cell

“Genes are almost infinitely permissive: anything that can happen will happen. … If life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest, death is nothing but that electron come to rest.” Nick Lane, THE VITAL QUESTION (2015): 289, 290.

They live inside us. We die inside them.
They’re everywhere, and they’re invisible.
We have no microscope (or macroscope)
To teach us what we desire to know:
Why the container must be the contained?

The wall’s the thing torments our knowledge so —
Lipids, not limpid; or stones, to pretend
We respect our neighbors, not stoning them
(Though many are the times we wish we had
Since they forget they smell … as we do, too).

Eukaryotes: “true nuclear cells”
(u-CARE-ee-ahts — such a copious word!),
Life inscribed in codes bound in their membranes
To express (in emptiness) a liver here,
A kidney there, a heart somewhere else.

Therefore do not send to know for whom the cell
Divides, it divides for you. When it can
Divide no longer, it dies, but you remain you,
So the waste management of your body
Processes death every second you live.

Do not make over-much of who you are.
Your task, yes, but not for long (“Three-score & ten”) …
Cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or mosquitoes …?
Your freedom’s real, but your prison is, too:
CELL (no escape) also shares its stem with HELL.
R Allen Shoaf Identity Verified

About the Author 

R Allen Shoaf
EROTIC RECKONINGS, my second volume of poetry, can now be purchased from New Plains Press or from Amazon. My third volume, PIED-PIPER PHILOL

Latest Thinking in Arts & Entertainment
Latest Ebooks