Today’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) prompt is: Write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact.
I’m in denial that today is the last day of the NaPoWriMo challenge, so maybe tomorrow I will acknowledge that fact. For now, below is my poem about viruses. It draws from the fact that “eight percent of the human genome consists of viruses.” It’s also influenced by Gerald Callahan’s essay, Chimera.
Some of our DNA
are relics of viruses
from past infections
so scientists say.
Envelope viruses like the flu,
carry lipids, protein,
and the stuff of genes,
from the hosts they travel through.
I like to think,
After years of sharing a home,
and conceivably the flu,
I’ve collected pieces of you,
stored in my chromosomes and genome.
You are not lost, you see,
You make up parts of me, literally,
saved in my “immunological memory.”