Alma Baumwoll


Mama Metchnikoff will find you
and speak of you and praise you

even if you consume
only carmine flecks—one
man’s moment of science,
and not the animalcule
panacea for us,
the poorly untranslucent.


Translucent larvae
of red—catching
the macrophage’s pseudopod—
bottlecaps to a crow—
under the watchful eye
of Mama Metchnikoff.

O, unfortunately opaque puppies
that die,
diseased before immune design
could sketch their insides.


Fog-wraiths wander the body, presenting antigens, thoughts uncaught
by Mama Metchnikoff’s starfish, sponges, children’s stories:
wandering cells slay dragons and small pox and suicide.

You lovely lovers of splintered wood
that glom the invasion and destroy the protist!
So far from the first glimpse of your asteroidean home. . . .

Neutrophils and macrophages beyond the imagining—
Engulf and bind the phagosome!
Mix lysosome and apoptotic remains!

Our awkward solidity a wall of brambles no longer.

Alma Baumwoll spent her childhood digging in the dirt for sworms, and still enjoys collecting bug spit. She writes poetry, teaches biology, and dances. Her work has been published by Arrowsmith Press, and Shakespeare’s Monkey and she contributed to the Oral History of 9/11 exhibit at the Smithsonian.