From the very first second in which light came to Be,
Before a witness was, a single eye blinked.
A mystic in New York will tell you:
He believes in the 72-syllable secret name of God,
Even more than the genome we spent half his lifetime collating.
"God is certain, chemicals are not," he says confidently,
His shallow face lit by a thin scented candle from India,
His great wall of used books behind him filled with unread passages.
In September in the basement of Qwest's center:
Young Khadra confirms for me
She knows all of the sacred names of Allah and still believes
As our world crashes.
Her faith, unfashionable, my words, so small.
We, laid off in October:
Barely warning or fanfare
While Russians remember
Their Great Revolution for Red Square.
Only a handful still revere the State's blushing face
Twisting on giant banners in the cold Muscovite wind.
"My name means 'Green'" Khadra says, waiting for our bus one last time.
"And it's true, I come from a nation of poets. Is yours such a place?"
I do not know how to reply, distracted. Thinking
How hard it was, to imagine
That single perfect word by which a universe might be made,
Watching a nearby wild flower and a monarch butterfly
Who both seem so free without these questions:
Destined to die with the first winter frost
But still enjoying their time together.
from BARROW, 2009
On February 15, 20001, NATURE printed the first draft of the complete human genome.