Rotten to the Core

How are these casually dim thoughts,
I think of as mine, even marginally
distinct from others?
Is there no one else,
in all the 7 billion and counting,
who could be me,
who could wind up being me
one or two thousand years after my death?
If no two sets of fingerprints are alike,
then can no two minds be alike in their imprint?
How close would the reproduction have to come
to fool the modest observer…
remove the house finch mother from its nest
replace it with another
will the ornithologist spot the impostor
can a bird be a forgery? a man?

In the forge of the womb
what alchemical trick of cellular division
makes you, you
and them, them
and not one for the other
like an unknown changeling growing up happy
and all the family commenting on her familial traits:
great-grandma’s eyes, daddy’s smile,
aunt Anna’s ears, mommy’s laugh,
grandpa’s mechanical aptitude
grandma’s quick temper
from face to mind
we might see what we want
the dead might live again
the pro-choice vegan reborn as pro-life oviraptor
don’t try to make sense of it
the paints are mixed, pigments perfect
lead added for the right period feel
the strokes accurate
shading precise, but this is an artful resurrection
several centuries out of date
like the apple tree graft, notched in
that bears the genetically undifferentiated fruit
of the original rooted tree,
but without the roots it is free to spread
primitive clone, continent to continent
mouth to mouth – identical
at least by how we reckon,
but the world is not the same
Granny Smith unchanging in her ways
unable to be born again
victim of her own sexless identity,
her inalterability, and that’s it
the answer
like it or not, each human is unique
in our wild heterozygosity
no one individual ever comes back
or should
not in one thousand years
not in two thousand years
from face to mind
we might see what we want
but the dead never live again


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