Two Poems by Breeann Kyte


in the close dark causes tongues to catch
on knobbed spines. Unzippering
mouthfuls along the length of secret

sentences. One language to another
opens in a grin, a stutter
to a tentative translation
of this alphabet of four.

Now see,
her jaw lit.
Why sew ivy
cut for the sun? Let

barrel-folded fingers wring the kinks straight:
Staircased helices, the hidden yes.


Phages in Love 

Separates fuse in this commitment
to kill unless a mad moron. No dead
end here: pressure, coiled tight, crushed
in corners, quiet until now. When God
says to count stars, he has no idea
the amplitude of the viral flood.
Their collars fringed with feelers, pulsing
signals as legs snap to attention—
rapt in another—stories thrusted, spill,
remake cytosolic space.

Replicate: this urge, primordial
code to send snipped ends in embrace;
tongues alter to single tale. Houdini
never vanished so completely, never
resurrected as a multitude.
No magic in heedless need stripping
away sense of self until a ripple,
a shiver through lipid walls—the hijack
fills to burst, seams split wide.

A more temperate path: long life
shrunk small, tucked into, integrated—
part of the spiraled ladder of years.
The Cumean Sybil’s voice was not so
soft, not so persuasive, hushing. Replicate
with each divided daughter further
doubled, further repressed, suppressed
and snugged in cell. They looped through
wiry helix until induced to excise.

Annul this union.



Breeann Kyte is a research biologist, creative writer, and facilitates collaborations between scientists, writers and visual artists. She writes poetry as a fresh way to use language and images for her research and writing. Both poems are on the life cycles of viruses. Her creative work has been published in The Scientist, Sunshine Noir, the Eeel, Orion (online blog), Serving House Journal, and City Creatures (Center for Humans & Nature).