Awarded to Damen O'Brien
The Telomere Clock
You were born with me worming in your blood:
evolution's clearing house.
I count down the use-by date on you.
I remind your organs not to thistle
little empires, bastions, runaway confection
departing from specification.
Cells wish to live forever.
They do not know that such a reel of time
is ripe with opportunities to fail.
Your body is a parliament of cells
dreaming of revolution.
After the filterings and accretions of eternity
the wrongs remain.
I make quiescent the mushrooms glistening in your bones,
I dissolve the tumours seeding in your blood.
The upgrade plan that
triggers cell death, un-scrolling the RNA.
I am the hidden execution command:
the programmer's code enforcing the one time licence.
Your servant too, though you do not see it.
I make room for forgiveness.
I give you what you should desire:
enough of life, that all the evils ensuing
are not allowed to outnumber the good.
The organic timepiece that helps cells fail.
By increments I bring forward the date
when it comes to stock the shelves again.
In unending accumulations of errors,
there's reason enough to fear the spread of eternity.
There's reason enough to wind each spring down
withdraw each part number
and end the product line.
Lest you must bear all your mistakes
withering on the glacier of time
without means to heal.