SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Apoptotsis by Lavina Blossom

From the Greek for “the dropping

of scabs.”  A formula built

into us, a process that

assists the shape we take

becoming human. Its purpose,

to guarantee that certain

initial connectives fall away.


A signal’s sent and then a cell shrinks,

blebs (grows bumps) its chromatin

degrades, mitochondria leaks, and in

the final mop up, phagocytic cells feed

on the bite size apoptotic bodies.


Without it, we’d be freaks, our toes

and fingers grown together and no

eyelids separate from eyes. Especially

early on, but at each stage from

birth, we need cell suicide.


PCD:  programmed cell death. Too much,

organs degenerate. Too little prompts

a cancer mass. A form of check and balance echoing,

on the small scale, a broader scheme. Imagine

if each body of each species grew and lasted

very long or for forever and multiplied its kind…


In PCD, a wisdom to override

that instinct to survive: fewer, eventually,

are more. Room must be made for increments

of change, adjustments to the surrounding flux. And so,

the individual flesh, conducted from dark shore to

dark shore, the you-shape, which apoptosis

helped to make, will be absorbed into

something different, fresh, new.

Lavina Blossom lives in Southern California. She divides her creative hours between poetry and painting. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including The Paris Review, The Literary Review, Kansas Quarterly, Poemeleon, and 3Elements Review. She is an Associate Editor of Poetry for Inlandia: a Literary Journey.

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