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The Entirety of Man

Brent Schnipke

My thumb is on the white plunger: first stop

and now the pipette is ready to suck.
My hand is trembling, hovering over
the small plastic tube. I dip it down and in,
release the plunger, and draw it all inside.
These twenty microliters contain so much.
The plastic tip is clipped just wide enough
to draw up all the DNA at once.

The full substance of what makes man a man:
the recipe book,
the instruction manual,
all that information —
the entirety of a man — a man
in the twenty microliter pipette.

But I don’t think of it that way, so I
dispense the contents into the next tube
by pushing my plunger to the first click,
then to the second,
expelling all of that information,
letting it mix with the prepared buffer.

I’m now
done with it.

Brent Schnipke Brent Schnipke (16 Posts)

Medical Student Editor, Writer-in-Training and Columnist

Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University

Brent Schnipke is a third year medical student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, OH. He is a 2014 graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a degree in Biology. His professional interests include writing, medical humanities, and higher education. When he's not studying, he can be found reading at a local coffee shop, training for his next race, or planning an adventure with his wife. Brent is also active on social media and can be reached on Twitter and Instagram @brentschnipke.

Prints, Pages, and Pagers

Prints, Pages, and Pagers aims to look closely at the lives of medical students and doctors, real or fiction, whose lives and experiences are told in novels, short stories, poetry, or any kind of writing. These book reviews are an opportunity for medical students to learn from the many fascinating stories produced by the field of medicine, and maybe to read something other than a textbook.