Virtual Mentor. August 2012, Volume 14, Number 8: 664-665.
Ghazal of Algorithms
A poem by Sara Wainscott.
Sara Wainscott, MFA
Editor’s note: The ghazal, a mainly Middle Eastern poetic form that dates back to the seventh century, traditionally takes up metaphysical questions and evokes longing, love, and loss. It is made up of couplets distinct from each other in theme, tone, and imagery but joined together in their second lines, which end with a rhyme followed by a refrain. The final couplet often references the author, sometimes by name .
We’re alive down here no matter what the topography tells.
Scientists categorize chemical pairs, sequencing our genome.
I’m sorry for the things I say to hurt you, the things I never say.
At the equator, sloths move so slow their backs grow green with algae.
Reversed on film, black mold unfolds into reclining cats
Henrietta’s cells did something new. They kept alive and grew.
It’s all about the replications, the ways we grind together.
A mustard seed becomes a melon. Unborn, stillborn. The moon
Jellyfish in the bay, a fleet of cold, diaphanous pleats.
My eyes have always been blue. My heart’s been busted a time or two.
Once the written word was code enough. Now nothing else spells
Sara Wainscott has an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington. She lives in Chicago and teaches writing at Columbia College. Her poems have appeared most recently in Requited, Columbia Poetry Review, The Journal, and Poetry Northwest.
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