Bruce Beasley

from genomic vanitas

Vanitas

Of thy last end, in all thy works, be mindful
the still life’s legend says:

lyre & death’s-head clock, depetalling
tulip & convolvulus-canker,

wrought silver candle-snuffer,
& fruit flies’ agitated sphere

over split skin of cherries & blue-mold
caved-in scab on folds of peach:

in each, unwound, ripped-in-half
strands of DNA

self-duplicate &, replicant, endure their going-hence:
double-helixed

surrogate of the everlasting, like Eternity
in the tail-whip of gamete, in the condom’s

spermicidal tip.



Nothing to Obstruct

Shall there be
frogs & mice without brains? Nihil obstat. Circumcision
foreskin snippets to patch together a new face
for the burned? Nihil obstat.
Unfeathered chickens to save on cooling bills?
Nihil obstat.
A cactus growing human hair? Nihil obstat.

Human embryos dangling as earrings?
:Obstat. Contra naturam.

Nature sometimes draws aside & goes
away, & in these remote parts indulges herself
in shy & hidden excesses…