Flagellum

by ...

Stevie Howell

Flagellum

In the beginning, we beat ourselves to move to the source,
the sources, the light, the food, the sex

the CNS was a tail, a spine that schemed outside, beneath
–Richard the III’s, lurching from sea

slid across boulders peppered with microbes, feasted on weaker,
those with fewer machinations

called this our home, our kingdom. Some called themselves kings
and queens, sat at the centre

of ordered but unstable scenes. The yeast doubled, quadrupled,
n-tupled, and the more we had,

the more we wanted, the less restful the sleep. We spawned arms
and fingers to snatch or stroke, handy

when you’re broken, palpated our guts to annunciate menacing
grunts, morphed vowels. Word begat

the poet. The ocean bubbled and steamed, burped up future
family, frienemies, fanemies.

In the end, we describe blatant phenomena–but with eloquence,
we slow the world down, we say, like a cud.

More than nitrogen, more than vapour, more than clay, we need me,
I say, I am the why and the because.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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