Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Spring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1



Unnatural Selection

On the Internet they are auctioning off
the ovarian eggs of models.

Some are asking $50,000.
One woman is asking $150,000.

Women have 200,000 eggs at birth.
                      I looked it up.
That means their ovaries could be worth
two billion dollars at $10,000 an egg.

              It boggles the body.

   The female canary’s eggs
   are stimulated by song.

I’m concerned for the future
of human breeding.
There is truly not enough singing
                         over the petri dishes.

        One of the models
selling her eggs on the Internet
plays the part of the dead body
during the credits
of the TV drama Homicide.

The man who put up the Web site
to auction the model’s eggs says:
I’m not trying to do a white
              supremacist thing.
I picture sperm wearing tiny hoods.

I know at least he’s a male supremacist—
An in vitro fertilization pimp.

Why don’t they gather the eggs
of poets, of biologists, of physicists,
                     of concert pianists?

Maybe we’re too busy raising
             Playmates of the Month.
           Maybe we’re too busy
naming our daughters Misty.

   For the canary one
   special melody triggers
   the pituitary gland
   to release the hormones
   that start the female breeding.

The man who is hoping to sell
$2 million worth of eggs this year
says, “Genetically modified eggs
will be the story of the next decade.
              This is where the action is.”

          I think they said that about disco
in the ’70s. Suddenly I imagine
eggs dressed in pointy collars and platform
shoes, spinning around to Stayin’ Alive.

We can’t seem to get away from
reducing women to egg-vending machines
            in the DNA supermarket.
We come with our shopping lists
for cheekbones and eye color and breast size.

How close to birth and death
          we really are. 
I think of the model who plays
       the dead body on TV.
                        We need to be
provided with Grief Counselors

  I think of the people with
the beautiful eggs and the beautiful
sperm—creating plastic dolls
in a petri dish. Unnatural selection.

   The female canary’s
   ovary will ripen
   and the eggs develop faster
   the more the male canary
   sings to her.

                             Sometimes it seems
            we are living in a world
of a terribly unnatural silence.
The TV credits are running over
our pretend bodies. Stayin’ Alive
is playing in the background. Stayin’ alive. . .  

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