JIM WILLIS

 


Unnatural Selection


The wild honeybee can read
Hidden designs on flower petals
Drawn in subtle colors that lie

Outside the visible spectrum.
Little mistakes in genetic copies
Have led to ancient stratagems

To seduce the opposite species,
To fully grasp another’s desires
And map a path to satisfaction.

One color stops the humming-
bird, bobbing on his axis,
Quivering on the verge of red.

A certain odor lures the night
Moth toward sweet distraction.
A hungry bat detects its gluttony.

* * * *

Chia Tet Fatt of Singapore
Has spliced the glowworm’s
Luciferase genetic enzyme

Into Dendrobium White Fairy #5.
He shot his homemade particle
Gun across the forbidden zone

To create a transgenetic mating
Of species indifferent to each other.
It glows unblinking in the dark.

The flower, the stem, the leaves,
Even the roots are luminescent.
Five clones were to be auctioned

Over the Internet, but so far
Neither novelty nor the honor
Of naming the orchid attracts a bidder.

* * * *

Darwin never imagined
Such unnatural selection
When he guessed the presence

Of some local pollinator’s
Undiscovered proboscis
That fit the exact pit of

The foot long nectar spur
Of Angraecum susquipedale,
"The Star of Bethlehem" orchid.

Christmas nights in Madagascar
Are heady from the breeze
Across its milk-white stars.

After Darwin, the well-endowed
Nighthawk moth was found
And named predicta in his honor.

Call the fallen bearer of fire-
fly light, "Lucifer." Let the vector
Clone enough for a K-mart special.