the healing muse

Volume 7, 2007

On the Perfect Child

B.A. St. Andrews

Amniocentesis, sonogram, the genomic
road map are all different ways
medicine has planned to cut out difference.

We help parents find their way past Scylla
and Charybdis, past the surprises of
conception now we no longer trust Mother

The assurance of prediction,

the perfectibility of man.
What have we prepared for
the changeling child who climbs
a different set of spiral stairs,
this visitor whose XXY suggests
an algebra of aberration, whose
extra chromosome (that embarrassment
of riches) creates an alchemy
of disaster? Our brave new
world has little room for this
fetus and welcomes it with
lullabies like sirens wailing
and the sterile inhalation
of vacuum pumps. A little
act of love gone wrong is
quietly entombed, a tidy
clean-up of the family genome
is achieved and we remove
all trace of this mistake
relieved to welcome the next
perfect child and name it
God made flesh and angel eyes.

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