Should Never

“A new research report suggests that scientists may be able to recreate

an extinct woolly mammoth from its long-frozen DNA.”

– New York Times


Should never.

I see that now.

Twisted by logic

Played by logicians, swept

By the force of cunning argument.

Should never.


Debate will do that.

The river of words

Slow, languorous even, at the edges

Where you first step in.

Gently seductive, gently urging,

Gently gently gently down the stream.

But further, towards the sluicing middle, the current

Irresistible. The logic, the argument, the hard claw of debate.

I was carried down the stream.

I am sorry.

Should never.


I blame Google.

It is one thing, after all, to search for words.

We do that.

We are human; we have no choice.

But pictures? Images?

Taboo taboo taboo.

Once I saw you I could not straighten my thinking.

I knew the arguments, heard the debates,

I have a mind that can hold opposing ideas in balance.

In equipoise.

But the swoop of your ivory. Its magnificent curl.

The rich dignity of your coverings.

As a people, we dream of a coat like your colossal swinging fur coat.

We hear in dreams the deep poundings of your stride

Turning tundra to grassland, step by booming step.


To see your image was to fail you.

Should never.

Should never have brought you,

Oh Wooly Mammoth, Wooly Mammoth,

I should never have brought you back.



I was born in a glass tube in a clinic in LA.

Cloned from a morsel of DNA, that DNA exhumed

From a nugget of amber,

Or a bubbling tar pit, or a fossil in the Dakotas.

My papa, not mammoth, not wooly,

A balding man in a white lab coat

With bad breath, like he stunk inside,

Like all humans.

Stunk inside.


I don’t speak human.

Human sounds won’t pass my mouth.

We took a vow, my brothers and sisters,

Even as we dwindled,

Even as the light that burned within us


We would never utter words that had been spoken

By humans or their kind.


Poisoned meat. Poisoned grasses.

The rapaciousness of hunters.

The voraciousness of human hunger.

You hunted us down. You ate us up.


I know why it is you brought me back.

I know what it is you want.

The debate, the logic, the business with google, all lies

I know why you brought me back:

You want me to blow life into you.

You want me to give a gift of words.

But I won’t speak them.

I am dead to words.

I don’t speak human.

I took a vow.


Should Never originally appeared in the New Verse News