To Do Better by Ally Malinenko

In a lab somewhere
they made a human
heart out of spinach leaves,
washing it down
then pumping it full
of cardiac cells
until it grew and beat
not quite animal
and not quite plant

and I think about my own paper
heart and how if it tore
I could wrap it up
in moss
or oak leaves
stitch it together with bark
and twigs and some mud
how I could fashion
a house

for my heart

and I would visit it
go for long walks in the woods
and it would tell me what the trees
are like when they’re all asleep.

In a lab somewhere
they’ve made a womb
out of circuits
and computer chips,
plastic and wiring.
A box into which
we can start up
a little tiny person
maybe with a spinach heart
maybe with apple slices for ears
roots for veins
and computer chips for eyes

Something not mechanical
not plant
not  animal
something new
to leave behind
something to take over
when we are gone
to do better
than we have done
to live lighter
than we have lived.


Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How to Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). She has a poetry collection forthcoming from Lowghost Press entitled Better Luck Next Year.


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