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Apoptosis and Necrosis (by Josh Mandel)

Already halfway through my coffee,
hardly fifteen minutes through the nine a.m.
I start to wonder how I'll go.

A cellular biologist divides the modes of death
in two broad categories: apoptosis and necrosis.
Like any good taxonomy the archetypes
are polar opposites.

Some say that for destruction apoptosis
has its charm, control, a regulated
inward shrinkage timed to signals
from the outside world,
disintegration bleb by bleb until no core remains:
a quiet death and easily absorbed into the sea
of nameless neighbors,
one more empty seat in lecture hall
consumed by someone's sweater,
desk usurped for coffee, cell phone
or banana peel.

But I can feel myself taking the other path,
with undissected head and neck still
glaring down in grave indifference
there are some necrotic signs, the swelling
thoughts and captivating whisper
of freedom swirling through my studies.

So there's this swelling plus a kind of
leakiness, disregulated planning and spending
as I ditch the textbooks to bake gleaming sheets
of hypertrophic chocolate chip cookies.
I purchase cookbooks on the Internet
and stoneware at department stores
and daydream of a future where I'll have
the time to use them ---

All early signs, reversible.

And yet from what I've learned to date
as salt pours in and water follows by osmosis,
every membrane meets its fate,
the mute explosions of necrosis.

[randomly selected from 21 poems/paragraphs here]

(who the heck... ?)