My father, last on his block to buy a color TV.
Not me, not this time.
Already got me my liquid nitrogen freezer –
A little bit of Antarctica, right in my basement.
I see neighbors talking, yeah.
Every day, I have to look,
Have to open the door, thick as a wall.
Love the way that frigid nitrogen vapor
Seeps up and out, then down the shiny sides
And along the concrete floor, until it just disappears.
Inside, the vials. Scores of them.
Rubber-capped and labeled,
The hemispheric bottom of each
Cupping a permafrost bead of biology,
Each charged with seeds of resurrection.
Got cells in this freezer, not just mine.
Cells from my mother. Cells from my father.
Cells from my sister and brothers.
Cells from my children, their cousins too.
Aunts and uncles; the whole wedding list.
A few vials for each; I’m taking no chances.
Even got vials with codes for my pets.
A pair of microscopic cells is all it takes.
A cheek cell, a blood cell, who cares what sort,
Gingerly extracted, its genome is the ticket
Thrust into an egg, itself de-gened lest things get too crowded
(Got vials of these too; I’m no dummy).
Then, a zap of electricity, I kid you not, sex-a-matic.
The clonal clockwork unfolds, new clay from old.
Death isn’t what it used to be, not in this house.
Terminal disease, drunken drivers:
That forever-gone business no longer applies.
© Ivan Amato
Published in Potomac Review, Issue 34, Fall/Winter 2002-2003