Poem: Chirality, or, I asymmetrically create my body against genetics

A man-made canal in the spring. The trees on the other shore are bare

Something new I’ve been noodling about how I deal with trauma.

My biologist friend
stares across a man-made canal
listens to my half-formed thoughts
breathes out

She says
It took millions of years for our cells
to learn to fold
in the way that makes our bodies

I think
It has taken me 29 years for my cells
to unlearn the crease
of where my body folded

My husband says
When we argue, you draw in
on yourself, pull your limbs
close to your body
like you’re trying to disappear

FOLD (v.)
To bend over oneself until
one part covers another

FOLD (v.)
To bend over on myself until
I am small enough to hide

It took
29 years to unlearn this behavior
but approximately 20 seconds
to relearn, relapse, reapply

It took
20 seconds to relearn how to fold
my body in the way it would
be small enough

The biologist says
Take one gene from our DNA, and
it confuses everything

It will take
another million years
for our bodies to evolve
to accept
the absence

Exactly half:
The genes I wish I could remove
to create folded asymmetry
in this body

It will take
a million years
for my body
to accept
to evolve
past the genes I would remove

They say
if you fold a piece of paper
enough times, it will
eventually disappear

A poet says
I put distance where I need
so I can keep moving

I think
Can I distance myself from
my own body? From the crease
that I have tried to disappear?

If I fold
my genes
my body
will I disappear?

Will I evolve?


Published by Liz

I'm a writer living and working in Cincinnati, OH. I've been writing for ages and ages. Somehow now I'm actually getting someone to pay me to do it.

One thought on “Poem: Chirality, or, I asymmetrically create my body against genetics

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