Becoming Human

Is it the flaw no one had noticed in the inlaid featherwork from which

     we can infer

Or is it nature who decides we’re so far fetched

Which seems unlikely in a world of fangs and claws

Is it a kind of miracle we’ve stolen from our children

In a world of horns and tusks

Is it because they’re often fragile or because we love too hard out here

     in the middle of nowhere from a child’s point of view

The little plastic particles you aren’t allowed to touch

Is it more numerous and beautiful than what we had been told

In a world that’s breaking down into actual marvels of speed, size, power,

     versatility and so on 

Then you think, wait a minute

In a world that’s been repurposed

In a world that can devour

In a world of vertebrae, phalanges, joints, ribs, sockets, 20 million square

kilometers, collected and entangled

In a world that’s meaningful

In a world that lies off shore but cannot lift itself with statistical significance

Experiments With Space and Light

If only sprawling craters

If only youthful energy kindling our earthly faces

If only the receptors at the back of our eyes

If only we could see the shapes our bodies made wrestling the newly harnessed light,

            a mind-bending buzz of confusion and compassion 

If only hospitals 

If only fingertips betokening a wilder world, sifting through traces of ambition –

           which bounteous gift would you have picked? 

If something happened and that sentence hadn’t worked, though grammatically

           correct, would you have taken to the streets?

If only phone calls, letters, voicemails, emails, eavesdropping

There are hundreds of thousands of people whose artificial hearts are bleeding

           or infected

There’s a word for this in science

I want to be happy

If only promises made to this place we all call home with its gigantic clouds of dust

           and limiting logics 

If only heavy breathing

If only cancelled flights

If only gamma rays passing directly through your body

Elizabeth Marie Young
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