Poetry: Your iris needs light to make an image by Sean Cho Ayres

In “Your iris needs light to make an image,” Sean Cho Ayres zeroes in on the cold essence of the scientific method and juxtaposes it with the quivering vulnerability of a fawn at the mercy of Mother Nature. Cleverly, Cho Ayres raises important questions about scientific ethics; he causes us to wonder if we are mere fawns in headlights.


Your iris needs light to make an image

so it’s a shame that material science is the slowest
kind of magic. Right now in Palo Alto scientists
are cloning an extinct marsh deer knowing
very well that they don’t have the equations
to keep him alive for more than two hours.

They named him A001. giving themselves hundreds
of more tries before having to admit defeat and
move onto B. When you open a math book
you expect problems. When you raise your hand
you expect attention. If you’re alone in a white lab
coat in the middle of the night splicing genes
you know you have to clap your own hands.

Light reflects off the river and dives into
the eye of a fawn, its shape flipped upside
down and back again before entering its brain.
The unfamiliarity of his own face brings him
to alertness: a car horn blares, he darts away,
knowing fear more than anything else.




Sean Cho Ayres

Sean Cho A. is the author of “American Home" (Autumn House 2021) winner of the Autumn House Publishing chapbook contest. His work can be future found or ignored in Pleiades, The Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, Nashville Review, among others. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of California Irvine and the Associate Editor of THRUSH Poetry Journal. Find him @phlat_soda.  

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