Sunday, January 02, 2011

Science Poems for January 2011: 2

Last April I posted a science sonnet a day in celebration of National Poetry Month (index with links here). This January I am posting a science poem a day, written in various traditional forms, in honor of Science Online 2011.

The "fifth annual international meeting on Science and the Web" occurs Jan. 13-16, 2011. Click on the logo below to access their daily digest (already active) on

As with the sonnets, my January poems take their cues from science-based articles. I also have two works in a special science poem section (vol. 33 #5/6) of Star*Line, journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can read my "Ciliate Sestina" here.

Today's poem takes its cue from "Genome of Mystery Human Relative Revealed by 30,000 Year-Old Fossil" (The Daily Galaxy, December 23, 2010). Click on the article link to learn more about the research. To learn more about the traditional poetic structure used, click on the form name below the title.

Ancestor Points the Way
(Form: Abecedarian)

All roads lead to Africa.
But out of Africa, we diverged.
Cro-magnon met Neanderthal in Europe,
Denisovan in Asia -- redefining
Everyman from the
Finger of a

Her DNA survived Siberia and the Pleistocene,
Immigrated into Melanesian bloodlines,
Jostled conventional wisdom.
Keepsakes of bone (a tooth, too)
Leafed out an evolutionary branch
More akin to Homo habilis or erectus than to
Neanderthal, or us.

Ours was not a simple journey
Peopled with extinct humans
Queued along our timeline.
Rather, we mixed.
Sister species
Took their place at our table.
Underneath our skin, genomes tangled.

Welded our missing links while
Xenophobia fell to our
Yearning to connect -- one new
Zygote, one new face at a time.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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