you're used to seeing it, you know
people killing each other on the streets 

all of my friends carry guns
i started carrying knives when i was eight 

the blade looked like an arrowhead
and the t-shaped handle
fit between the knuckles in my palm

i was tough for a girl, i guess

i've only killed one person
it was when i was fourteen

there's one mad rush of panic
then you just finish the job
and run like hell

that's why i'm in this house, you see
they couldn't put me in jail

they've taught me a lot here

at first
i didn't want to get away from it all
from the violence
it was what i knew
it was what i expected

and then
someone killed my sister
and i knew what they were all
talking about
i missed her

suddenly i knew
i made someone else
feel that

i learned
what guilt and remorse were
and ever since
i've wanted to get out

Janet Kuypers

Orphaned Embryos


The fate of two abandoned "orphaned" frozen embryos that could be heirs to the multimillion dollar estate of a Los Angeles businessman was under official consideration and growing controversy. . .

AP Wire Story


Ice is the condition of life unlived, crystal zygote. Orphans now. Were we ever anything more? Here is the potential for bone and ligament, for kneeling and dance. There is the ice crystal that will become an Achilles tendon, and here is the deltoid that will hold a child, lift a kitten out of a tree.

You think blood's gonna flow here? Frozen blood doesn't flow.

We have a chance.

Miniscule at best. A snowflake's chance in hell.

Motherless zygotes are so depressed. Catalogue potential. This microscopic chip contains the capacity to develop a cerebellum, a cerebrum, to traverse the currents of gravity and become a column to lift us to new heights above our ancestors.

Oh, sure, high enough to oversee the bacchanal but never close enough to join.

Nevertheless. This tiny gem of DNA contains the basis for the caratid artery, the brachial artery -

Dream on.

. . . the pulmonary artery, and the femoral artery. That pin pick, smaller than an angel's wings. . .

You can't get away with that.

. . . could be a heart. Beating.

I see.

Of course, there are the parts no one wants to contemplate, the large intestine, the small intestine, the liver. . .

Who will change our diapers?

We're rich. We'll hire someone. Here we have the potential for cartilage, there is tissue for lungs. . .

They say we could be monsters.

You're a monster. I'm normal. Here is the opportunity for a thalamus, there the thyroid gland.

You will always be tired. I will have no gonads.

Androgynous people are quite popular these days.

We'll never know. Believe me. Already they're shuffling around in the lab, back-stepping, double tracking. An excess of hand-wringing. Oh what to do with the "living heirs."

A difficult moral dilemma.

For them. Not for me. I want to live a long life and enjoy my filthy lucre.

You make a poor orphan. Orphans should be strong. Here is the possibility of pelvis, there the potential for ganglia, and right over there, the sciatic nerve.

Who says orphans should be strong? I'm no survivor.

These parts we retain in our hearts, the superior vena cava, the tricuscpid valve, the inferior vena cava, and then of course the right and left atriums, right and left ventricles, ventricular septum . . .

Hold your breath. Here they come.

Wendy Thornton

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