Fable for a Genome
After David Ferry
In the sculpture, Aeneas wore a helmet, heldhis son’s hand, and carried his thin father,weathered and wild-eyed, but alive. My fatherwas bearded and wild-eyed before he died.My son was ten days old and sleeping all the time,and though I do not pray I knew if only onecould live, it should be him, little belly littlebrain, hand curled tight around my fingeras I nursed him down to sleep then drovethe unlit road back to the ICU to find my dadnow clutching at the family gods and spitting: Back!at an approaching nurse, and then to me, quietly:Who can I trust? as I harangued the doctorsfor more drugs. I could not carry him away,and like Aeneas, I made mistakes. He died. A wholelibrary burned down. The myth of my autonomybegan to fade from my own system of belief.Instead, a chemical intelligence was using me—mother, daughter, vehicle—to change and recombine,each body cast aside in time. I washed my handsin running water. I changed clothes in the garagebeside the washer. I watched everybody sleep.Some carried their fathers on their backs, somefled with children from wasted cities and armed attacks.What can’t be carried can be scattered on the water.
Copyright © 2020 by Heather Green
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Heather Green is the author of No Other Rome (forthcoming in 2021, Akron UP), as well as two chapbooks, No Omen and The Match Array. Her poems have appeared in Bennington Review, Denver Quarterly, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is the translator of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won (Octopus Books) and Guide to the Heart Rail (Goodmorning Menagerie). Her translations of Tzara’s work have appeared in Asymptote, Open Letters Monthly, Poetry International, and several anthologies. She teaches in the School of Art at George Mason University.
Bennington Review is a national biannual print journal of innovative, intelligent, and moving poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and film writing, housed at Bennington College.
Fifty years after its original founding and thirty years after its last issue, in 1985, Bennington Review has resumed publication, with poet Michael Dumanis as Editor.
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