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The biology song 03


ODE TO A CLONE
By John Scalzi

(This originally appeared in America Online's "Howdy" area on March 6th.)

Oh clone, my clone, how can you bear it
To exist knowing you have only one parent?
No zygote you, when haploid cells met
You were produced with a full chromosome set.
And now I can see that you are confused
To discover your genes have arrived slightly used.
To answer your questions is the aim of this poem
You who are like me, my clone, oh my clone.

You were not produced from between sweaty sheets
In fact, you arose from cells scraped off of my cheek.
Your genes gently placed in an egg we provided
And then shocked with a current until they divided.
You sat there a while till it was time to fish
That thing that was you from that petri dish.
(And though it may seem churlish at this time to mention,
we suspect that the dish had post-partum depression).

Oh clone, my clone, don't feel angst or feel grief
Because the genes that you have are not bought but are leased.
You have no mother, but that's no impediment
Indeed, you've bypassed the whole Complex of Oedipus.
To your one parent you can always relate
To do otherwise is a form of self hate.
Who can tell us apart when we answer the phone?
No one at all, my clone, oh my clone.

Think of all the experiences we'll have!
(That is, once they allow you to go from the lab).
I'll take you to places that I've already been
So you can see them once more for the first time again.
Let's go to work, where I think we will find
That we'll get twice as much done in just half the time.
And should we play tennis, our opponents have troubles
As they must play singles, but we shall play doubles.

Oh clone, my clone, I see you are vexed
By ethical issues admittedly complex.
If you are my clone, are you wed to my wife?
And would having two husbands cause marital strife?
Suppose that we clone her? Then what would that be?
Bigamy, polygamy, or polyandry?
Oh, the guilt I would have would go to the bone
If I accidentally slept with your wife, oh my clone.

Perhaps it would be better if we lived all our days
Away from each other -- and go separate ways.
I would stay here and live with my mate
And you would take yours to some other state
Perhaps to Alaska, with Northern Lights blue
To live off the land, in a hut or igloo.
And with a deep sense of pride all my friends would be shown
Many pictures of your house, a Nome clone dome home.

Oh clone, my clone, you impressive feat
The one person born with no help from gametes.
When you have troubles getting yourself to sleep
Do you think on your compatriot, Dolly the sheep?
It's true that we both share our genetic information
But I know that your mind performs its own peregrinations.
In the end I am me, and you are just you alone
You are your own person, my clone, oh my clone.

Previous: The biology song 02
Next: Why is a barn so noisy

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