Gardner, Lyn C. A.: The Dispossessed

It takes years to build a viable human
Even under the best of circumstances.
Years spent growing, learning,
Your own mistakes and others’.
Years in the labs, analysis, test subjects,
Copy after copy indistinct,

Abortions, they called them once,
Long before the word’s common use
For babies lost on purpose—
Abortions, the badly formed, the incomplete,
Frightening in their deformities
(Whisper, “monsters”)—
Two heads, no hands;
A face blank as a slate,
Not even a hole to breathe through.

Copies are different. Not babies exactly,
But experiments. The pain is less—
The pain of failure, not true mother’s grief.
That’s what we tell the women.
We’ll try and try again until it’s right,
Experience the teacher, after all.
You have to break some eggs to make an omelet,
And an egg by definition is not a person,
In point of law.

The viable clones, our trumpeted successes,
Are perfect in every way—
You’d never tell them from a human being;
And that shadow stretching out behind each one—
Brothers whose hearts soon fail,
Sisters who succumb to disease—
That only lends them depth.

To classify them human, courts must know
How perfectly they match us in each detail;
But since these good copies could not exist
Without their shadows—
Failed bodies, not human at all,
Never were, never will be—
In order to continue,
We must insist the courts define those dross.
They are abortions, allowed, just fit for study.
The blind, the deaf, the ones with feeble brains,
The ones who can’t exist outside a bubble.
Necessary human research:
Their cells will help us all survive.

And look at this glowing perfection,
This young man, this young woman,
So bright, so courteous, so kind, so beautiful,
The future of our race.
Isn’t such perfection worth any risk?

And now that we’ve defined so well
What makes them human, and those others not—
The lame, the mute, the deformed,
Those with cancer or disease,
Weak lungs, hearts that will fail in sixty years,
Brains aligned to the wrong gender,
The wrong thoughts, the wrong dreams, the wrong talents,
Children who fail to honor expectations,
Those who possess a certain lack of flair—
Let’s think a moment and be fair.
Now that perfection’s truly in our grasp,
Now that heredity’s editable to a virtue,
We owe it to all future generations
To apply that yardstick
To every human birth.