The Human Genre Project


An Observation

By now I've come to parse the human frame
in all intricate particulars, all tensions,
more fluently than my name;
I see each thing that in the structure dances.

In the couple holding hands that I squeeze past,
I can read raw animal calculation
in how he scans the room; in how she dances,
legs swaying, sweating in frustration,

I read the rhythm of a relationship:
X versus Y. And in predation, grace.
No, not versus. More against, like when you rest
your lips against a forehead or a face

without moving for a second, then inhale,
there is a scent of something beyond -
a long sequence of ancestors, a trail
of similar spans of neck, of hair

blending with the ones before, of eye
matching eye as the music plays
along the generations. And I ask why,
why this game of half plus half is more than one?

I see the seething room, the smiles, and understand:
we have the chance to give our better half,
and get a better still. Planned or unplanned
that is why, and I am happy to partake

in this binary science, this human art -
the twin exits from the chambers of the heart.

Niall Murphy