Science & Technology
Baseline of the Soul

      The brain men have convened in San Diego,
wunderkindt from venerable ivory towers,
      who perform
on Powerpoint when the lights go dim.
      Western blots, schematics
of programmed cell death, little proteins
      with names like Caspase, Bax and Bim
flash across the screen, enough
      to make a neocortex blush
with the intimacy of it all, as if
      the smartest really believe
they will get to the bottom of our heads
      with knockout mice and missense nucleotides,
putting their probes into the most secret
      corners of our delight, enraptured
by nomenclature, obsessed
      with undressing mystery’s manikin
down to her wire and linen.

                        No wonder I flinch at coffee break
when these bow-tied voyeurs partake
      of petite sandwiches and savories,
then spec out name tags
      before pontification.
Creation draws her divine cloak tighter
      with each yelp of the onion skin,
every probe and assay, until
      the pilgrimage collapses into itself,
and the baseline of the soul remains
      vibrating like a shadow on snow,
indivisible as absolute zero.

Copyright 2008,  Arthur Ginsberg

Arthur Ginsberg is a neurologist and poet based in Seattle. He has studied poetry at the University of Washington and at Squaw Valley with Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds and Lucille Clifton. Recent work appears in the anthologies, Blood and Bone, and Primary Care, from University of Iowa Press. He was awarded the Washington State Poets William Stafford prize in 2003. His chapbook, Faith is the Next Breath, has just been released by Puddinghouse Press in Ohio.

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