The Carriers
by Ashley Hutson

Don’t you know that you have it, too—
This bad blood I’ve passed on,
these diseases, these family heirlooms
lodged in the organs
to last a lifetime (or a half):
The cancer, the stroke, the brain tumor
scattered around the family tree,
waiting in your womb
to make another lap
around the gene pool.
And you’ll do it, too.
You’ll spread it around
just like me,
just like we all did
in the name of happiness.

Don’t you regret it now?
It’s your child this time.
Your blackened blood is circling back,
haunting you at night,
Pulsing, whispering at your temples,
telling you how your children
will also ignore its warning.

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