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Poetry and Medicine
December 26, 2001

Genetic Cocktails

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2001;286(24):3054. doi:10.1001/jama.286.24.3054

On twilight's veranda we contemplate
how olives, onions, all circular fruits
represent the world; gin means the Mystery.
Stirred, not shaken, we are surrounded by
gloaming's invitation to ask ourselves
and one another intoxicating and eternal
questions. With skies rumbling up russet
then slinking down sable, everything seems
shaded in pathos or bathos and we wonder
what we precisely know: That wind is
the chisel of time, that the hawk won't return
to our wrist, that biology's bonfires
(males, plumed and endangered, doing their
zigzag dance; females, drab and enduring,
silent beneath the birthing bush) seem from
this distance to be a small sacred thing,
an antique spark precious as gems in
a family ring. Fearless we peer in dawning
dark to toast our brave homo-futurans,
born from the bottle, our petri-dish people,
our mutants beloved, knowing we all rise
from the same double helix; we all climb
the same winding stair. From ancient
sun decks we (doomed explorers from
another time) salute lunar blue cities
in air, trumped up by contentious twins
joined at the heart: Science and Art.

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