Thursday, January 17, 2008
Matters Of The Heart (... in a jar)
It's all over the news--researchers at the University of Minnesota have "created a beating heart in the laboratory". Basically, they used the protein fiber matrix from one heart, stripped of muscle cells, as a scaffold upon which to grow a new heart, using a solution of cells from another rat. Yeah. I know, all this talk about hearts is so romantic. So, in a bit of a reversal from my previous position, I return to the romantic view of the heart as the foundation of love, with a trio of little verses inspired by the heart in the jar. I can see it now... the picture above, on the front of the Hallmark card, with one of the following verses inside...
I'm new at this game,
And I don't know your name,
But I love you, whoever you are;
My heart may be true
But it's also brand new
I grew it myself, in a jar!
I can feel my heart grow,
So I love you, you know,
And not like a cousin or brother;
I will give you my heart--
Every bit, every part;
If you break it, I'll grow me another.
My heart is yours; it’s in a jar
That sits upon your shelf;
It’s happy being where you are
And not all by itself.
You asked me for a souvenir
To keep while we’re apart;
I thought a bit, and it was clear—
It had to be my heart.
And now, although my heart may soar,
It is no longer mine;
A message that forevermore
I’ll be your valentine.
A rat cadaver’s donor heart
Is stripped of every cell
The protein fiber matrix left
Looks like a ghostly shell;
This matrix, in a sterile flask,
Is bathed in rat-heart goo
With both adult and baby cells,
And starts to grow anew.
In only days, the growing heart
May beat, or merely twitch,
Then work, at roughly two percent…
Like yours, you heartless bitch.