In Vitro Electric
Numbed and sedated,
I think of Mary Shelley’s near-death
in Villa Magni’s colonnaded walls;
haunted by six pregnancies: four dead.
And all her blood-ripened visions.
I stroke a lock of my son’s fox-red hair,
dream his flared-fingers clasp mine and arrange to meet a new God:
A scientist drunk on knowledge and potential,
who outlines my disastrous chromosomes,
and pre-implantation genetic frontiers.
His words fog my mourning brain until he focusses
on a girl, to cull abnormal genotype.
Like labour, my legs bend and splay,
and I follow the ultrasound’s light into sepulchral dark
where ripened ovaries lie; cushioned and dimpled.
Blueprints from my mother’s body
matched with four sperm from four hundred million.
Three spares, frozen and suspended,while,
an electric current jump-starts her stem cell’s split to blastocyst,
and we track the catheter, flush our daughter to a slow settle.
Willing her alive.