Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mitochondrial DNA and Momma.

This has been one of my favorite news stories- about mitochondrial DNA traced along the female lineage. Years ago I wrote a poem about it which was published in The Fossil Record.  Here it is:

Momma of an Ancient Time

    Mitochondrial DNA is only inherited through the mother.  we could trace ourselves back to one woman in Africa.

Momma of an ancient time,
fur-covered, huddled in darkness,
warmed me with her breath,
in the indiscernable shadows
of a cave,
her breast spoke comfort, calm
every syllable in silence.

The time when fathers had no word,
warmth, darkness, love prevaded,
Now they invent
frantically, furiously
-a rope and pulley pull us up.
We dangle experimentally.
Nodes attached, measure the care
they can't create.

And when she returns
in union with riverbeds
and mountain air,
blood clots
on node after node.

I want to thank Iara Lee, filmmaker and activist for posting the DNA story and reminding me about the poem. Check out her work on Facebook or here:
She has been in some of the most incredible places in the world at eventful moments.

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