On The Front Porch Swing
Hello humans, I’m a bacteria
on your front poach swing.
I was born long ago
thousands of miles west of here
high upon the leaves
of a tall palm tree
on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
There, I lived in many different colonies
of bacteria on tiny specks of dust
until the dirt and my colony
were swept up into the clouds
by a windstorm passing
over the Pacific ocean.
I was separated from my colony
and lived with my daughter cells
for many months in water droplets
far up in the white and gray clouds.
Later, I was dropped in a water droplet
as part of a August rainstorm
onto your porch where I bounced
in high speed splashing water onto your swing.
My life cycle is special and because of the way
I divide into two daughter cells, I’m essentially
immortal when my lifespan
is considered by human standards.
I speak to my cousin bacteria
by use of chemicals,
and you can consider me multilingual
because I can speak to many species
of bacteria besides just my own.
I can also transfer parts of my DNA
to other bacteria without reproducing
and viruses can transfer DNA to me as well.
My kind has lived on Earth for billions of years.
My personal lineage dates to long before
humans walked the Earth.
My kind is among the most common
forms of life on the planet.
For every human alive
there live billions upon billions of bacteria.
In myself and my kind, Mother Earth finds
continuity of life and diversity of DNA
even through the mass extinctions that
periodically plague larger forms of life.
Cousins of mine inhabit Mother Earth
high up into the sky
and deep into the ground.
We live in almost every other form
of plant and animal on the planet
all of whom could not live long
without the help of my kind.
I’ll live many more years
upon your front porch swing
in a colony with my daughters
unknown and unseen
by your cumbersome human gaze
and fleeting human attention.
I’ve seen many forms of life come and go.
I’ve talked to scores of different species
Oh! The stories I could tell,
and the wisdom of Earths long ages
I could give you if only humans
had the ears and the hearts
to hear my secret melodies.
Listen now and I’ll sing to you
songs of ten-thousand million lives,
of friendship and hardship,
of love and life and death,
of great alliances and deep mystery,
of seeking souls and of consummation,
spanning the long, long eons,
and carried out on vast stages.