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The Biology Song 03

ODE TO A CLONE

By John Scalzi




(This originally appeared in America Online's "Howdy" area on March 6th.)




Oh clone, my clone, how can you bear it

To exist knowing you have only one parent?

No zygote you, when haploid cells met

You were produced with a full chromosome set.

And now I can see that you are confused

To discover your genes have arrived slightly used.

To answer your questions is the aim of this poem

You who are like me, my clone, oh my clone.




You were not produced from between sweaty sheets

In fact, you arose from cells scraped off of my cheek.

Your genes gently placed in an egg we provided

And then shocked with a current until they divided.

You sat there a while till it was time to fish

That thing that was you from that petri dish.

(And though it may seem churlish at this time to mention,

we suspect that the dish had post-partum depression).




Oh clone, my clone, don't feel angst or feel grief

Because the genes that you have are not bought but are leased.

You have no mother, but that's no impediment

Indeed, you've bypassed the whole Complex of Oedipus.

To your one parent you can always relate

To do otherwise is a form of self hate.

Who can tell us apart when we answer the phone?

No one at all, my clone, oh my clone.




Think of all the experiences we'll have!

(That is, once they allow you to go from the lab).

I'll take you to places that I've already been

So you can see them once more for the first time again.

Let's go to work, where I think we will find

That we'll get twice as much done in just half the time.

And should we play tennis, our opponents have troubles

As they must play singles, but we shall play doubles.




Oh clone, my clone, I see you are vexed

By ethical issues admittedly complex.

If you are my clone, are you wed to my wife?

And would having two husbands cause marital strife?

Suppose that we clone her? Then what would that be?

Bigamy, polygamy, or polyandry?

Oh, the guilt I would have would go to the bone

If I accidentally slept with your wife, oh my clone.




Perhaps it would be better if we lived all our days

Away from each other -- and go separate ways.

I would stay here and live with my mate

And you would take yours to some other state

Perhaps to Alaska, with Northern Lights blue

To live off the land, in a hut or igloo.

And with a deep sense of pride all my friends would be shown

Many pictures of your house, a Nome clone dome home.




Oh clone, my clone, you impressive feat

The one person born with no help from gametes.

When you have troubles getting yourself to sleep

Do you think on your compatriot, Dolly the sheep?

It's true that we both share our genetic information

But I know that your mind performs its own peregrinations.

In the end I am me, and you are just you alone

You are your own person, my clone, oh my clone.