One day, they took me from my soil,
from my snails and my compost,
my arthropodic steeds and my palace of rotting peach.

They took me to a lab.
They took me apart.
Under the scope,
they looked through my skin.

Google doesn’t own me,
but there is an atlas of me,
my parts visible and invisible,
organ and neuron,
my one hundred million base pairs of DNA.

I was the first to be known in this way.

They used me to understand cancer,
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s,
diabetes, and obesity.
They made me fat.
They made me thin.
They froze me.
They thawed me.
They made me a nicotine fiend.

They never once asked me
what I thought of things.
They discuss my parts and my purpose,
my work and my science.

But I have my own questions:
Why am I here? Whom do I love?
Was herding sheep
a dream of mine?

So long did they decide things for me
that I forgot what it was
I meant to do. I forgot, even,
if there was an ancient time when I knew.

J.D. Ho has an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas in Austin. J.D.’s poems and essays have appeared in Georgia ReviewNinth Letter, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals.