Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unraveled - Benjamin Dodds


Never referred to explicitly
they feature alongside
anonymous lab technicians

safety-goggled henchmen
wielding delicate glass pipettes
and endless arrays of plastic phials

in footage furnishing 30-second
news pieces about genetics
and ‘ethically-troubling’ breakthroughs.

Throw in the phrase playing God
and you’re there.
Electrophoresis gels lay out

ladders of striated DNA
that fade into chemical whispers
running down the page.

To unfurl the coils
you’ll need a solution of Acrylamide
our dreaded antagonist

and known neurotoxin.
Acrylamide even looks dangerous
with its cross-braced capital A

dangerous enough to knock me
off my feet after a long and hot bath
on a departmental flex day

to find myself naked and dry
on the bedroom floor
involuntarily trawling

the bridge of my nose
up and down beige carpet
in a wide red arc.

I’ve since read
that Acrylamide accrues
in the system.

That ground-in stain
with its rusting brightness
smiles up at me still.

Benjamin Dodds

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