A Cell

by Lisa Harris

A cell
Sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins,
tube footed burrowers—cousins all—
traveling slowly, blurred and muted.

Echinodermata, Echinozoa, Echinoidea—
anciently called sea hedgehogs. These spiny
round algae eaters try to avoid

sea otters, starfish, wolf eels, and triggerfish,
predators all.
.                       In 1891, Hans Driesch experimented
on a sea urchin early in its life formation. He destroyed

one cell at an early two-celled stage
causing it to develop into a dwarf
sea urchin:

perfect and tiny with five-fold symmetry
and teeny tube feet.
This spunky little egg regenerated an entirety from parts.
“No machine could do this!” he yells across history.

Oh! organic, living world—dirt and spirit.
What do we keep and what do we discard?
How do we better love land, sea and sky,
erupting lava and grasping kudzu?

The fate of a cell is determined
by its position in the whole.


Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing