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Human Growth Mechanisms


(all three processes occur spontaneously)

hyperplasia

Multiply and            weave in me
a coil to decipher        our alleles, our alloys,
wind unwind            all the paths until
no more.               Spindle the chromosome
to find its axis,          breathe enough enough
more enough.               Bend identity in the progeny,
identify the symmetry       our alloys, our allies.

hypertrophy

Multiply and                leave in me
a deciphered coil —        signal and cascade
to coda:                 ribbon of wounds unwound
no more.                      Spin the sky, our bones long,
and find me, here,             breathing now now
this is now,                    we are here now, we know now.
To identify                        our synchrony: all plight.

accretion

Multiply our             gravity. The body
fluid. Uncoiled            cipher: I won’t leave.
Winded and             found, flight
no more.               Align our
bones                        to spindle air,
know now                    our identity more than:
What have we done            all our own.


I wrote this poem during my first year as a medical student while learning physiology. I was struck by the concept of human growth mechanisms. I found it fascinating that our organs grow and change in size through such concrete cellular mechanisms. Growth is such a universal and fundamental characteristic to living beings, and I wanted to play with both language and form to contrast a scientific explanation of growth to the emotional growth that occurs when we experience pain or suffering.

Shreya Madhavaram Shreya Madhavaram (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

American University of Antigua


Shreya Madhavaram is a medical student at the American University of Antigua pursuing Internal Medicine.