Organs and Poems
Images of various types of various organs, accompanied by 100-word text poems.
Lungs (100 words)
One is not enough the genes decree. Utterly
dependent on the diaphragm. Their job to gobble
up the unseen molecules of oxygen that waft their
way to alveoli where they sieve through a wall
that opens Sesame. And too, their job to harvest
from the blood the gassy poison that would
anesthetize the brain were it to fester in the salty
plasma stew. Almost light as air. More than the
heart, the altar for the breath of life but cannot
flaunt their role—they load the hemoglobin cars
that would stand stock still, the cells would starve,
without the pump.
Largest organ of them all yet only millimeters thick
—or thin, depending on the site or state of mind.
Water cannot penetrate but sunlight can, at least
enough to make the vitamin that gets the calcium
into the bone. And then there’s melanin—
polymerized oxidized tyrosine—three different
kinds—that give it color. How much better were
there none or only one. No Civil War. No, better
one, not none—for without it we’d burn too easily,
die early melanoma deaths. And then there’s all
its buried nerves, everywhere, but teeming in the
fingers, face. The feel of a kiss.
Stuck down below heart and lungs and brain,
stuck behind (you bang your back, the ache you
feel is them) ,relegated to the slimy job of
cleaning up the place. They monitor and
regulated the water level diligently—no sleep at
night. Hard wired to the white and gray inside the
skull but in a pinch can do their job alone.
Unbeknownst to most they spew out juice that
jolts the bone to make more cells to carry oxygen.
Found out last fifty years you can make it if they
die but only if you tie yourself to sterile catheters.
Guard of the gate leading to the ventricles. On
duty day and night, she never sleeps. Her job to
let enough but not too many charges through. If
drugged or old sometimes the gate slams shut.
And then some days she loses count, the hoards
race in. Beat too slow or beat too fast may be too
bad. She worries when the traffic’s slow (no fault
of hers) or when the road takes another route,
bypasses her. Big trouble when she goes berserk,
births charges of her own, spews them out rapid
fire. She must be stopped, but never fired.