Chromosome 17, by Geraldine Ondrizek, 2011, was commissioned by the UW Division of Medical Genetics and is made of dyed and embroidered silk and engraved plexiglass
Some hold that for us all
there is something fundamental
about enjoying the right
to know without a fight
who we are
and from whom.
Others sense a need
that some truths should not be freed
as they can confuse what seems clear
alienating those held dear
even sparking fear.
His name was mine
His face suggested my father’s bloodline
We never met
I feel no threat
surreptitiously I fret.
Four decades before
a year less, a year more
he came into my life
when I spent an afternoon with another man’s wife.
If the past to me is not a mystery
Its future lies in its history
probably never to be revealed
assuming our story remains sealed.
Unless, that is, the unexpected intervenes
and we are confronted with our genes.