Incongruous Poetry, Part Nine: Cells

Miss Julizab Allers will live on forever
in dishes and beakers in researchers’ labs.
Her cells are immortal, they’re healthy and fertile,
in shimmering clusters they crawl ‘cross their slabs.

Aggressively spreading, they’re just like the cancer
from which they were cultured. As Julizab died
from lesions and tumors, the doctors spread rumors
of soft tissue samples which she could provide.

So instead of a patient, who might be reluctant,
the doctors could test their new cures on her cells,
they could treat them and kill them, make them lie still, then
grow more for the next batch of research as well.

Poor Julizab Allers was buried a pauper,
her grave dug and filled without marker or stone,
while her cells spread and flourished, exquisitely nourished
by wealthy old doctors who she’d never known.

Do we pity her plight? Do we take up her cause?
Are her friends and her family aware she’s alive
in those beakers and dishes? Were those her wishes?
That she would die, while her cancer survived?

(Copyright 2004, J. Eric Smith. Believe it or not, it is not fictional, though the name of the protagonist has been changed to protect the innocent and her family. “Julizab Allers” was originally a Woman of Spam name, but it was too good to use for doggerel).

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