VI. DNA, or, The Legend of My Grandfather :: Rafael Campo

A molecule that craves its own embrace
Encodes a message from my ancestors:
Survival means eternal life. Restored
As though he were alive again, my face
Seems more my grandfather’s than mine. I search
The contours of my jaws for what he’d say —
In tissue overlying bone, nucle-
Ic acids fast unzipped to base-pairs (matched
In stews primordial) give rise to cells,
Retell their ageless story. Cartilage
Is synthesized; I have no heritage
Except the mitochondria which mill
About my cytoplasm, full of sparks —
I am consumed by my autolysins
Yet constantly rebuilt by selfish genes,
Become my grandfather who killed a shark.

— Rafael Campo

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