Laura Manuelidis

September Sonnet

for the suddenness of this moon that descends
and skims the horizon of my reflective room

then begs me to observe its fate
before the blast of sun forces it to drown

in this creatured bay—or exit docilely on the rise of light.

A few stars continue to rebel against losing their place.
They blatantly declare another eternity to remain

almost invisible now amidst the overwhelming bleach of time—

just as the heritage of trampled America silently agitates our days:
Vultures, chiseled stones, gunpowder contaminating the maize—

All the flaxen, blackened, burnt sienna kernels of expression
Surging with the vitality of this summer’s last smile

Needing to sail against the northeast winds of negation
that chill our colorful spirits enacting their unruly transpositions.

 (for Barbara McClintock)

Barbara McClintock, dismissed for many years before winning the Nobel Prize, discovered the transposition of genes (“jumping genes”) by crossing wild American maize (corn).

Laura Manuelidis is a physician and neuroscientist at Yale who showed how repeated DNA sequences define chromosome folding and structure. She also continues to work on viral causes of dementia and is the author of three books of poems: Out of Order (2007), One / divided by Zero (2014), and Swimming to Oblivion (2020), all available on  Her poems, published in Oxford Poetry, The Nation, Evergreen Review, and other journals have been nominated for Pushcart prizes.



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