Binomial Nomenclature by Dilantha Gunawardana

We are Homo sapiens, the tall walkers
The bipedals who bicycle to be environmentally conscious.

We are all a name in Linnaeus’s book. Darwin just added a little theory
Calling it evolution. We were once little collisions of gases

Dissolving in a soup bowl, from where small slimy cells rose.
The primordial fossil of life. We feed on Oryza sativa, a little bowl

Of rice and a serving of Gallus gallus, curry made from
Chicken who just couldn’t cross the road.

It seems the natural world is a hodge-podge of small creatures
With long names. Dinoflagellates, a little Pyrocystis fusiformis

Whose name assembles fire cysts made of luciferin
Burning as luminescence. Linneaus was right.

Uniqueness is in the epithet – the good name. Each a little
Different from the other. And we are all in this turquoise globe

Revolving around her axis, trapped by a boundless atmosphere
Dreaming and wishing upon starfish, Asterias rubens, dappled on the sky.

Seeking mythical unicorns in a field of rhinoceros beetles.
And all we have are two names calling us “wise men”.

It seems we have made us children of a greater god.
When we are only sinners of our own gluttony. Our greed

Of self-preservation. The wise man is no Merlin wizard
Just a flightless dodo, Didus ineptus with a Latin name

Standing as witness, as alibi, of who we are. A wise man
Searching for the folly of one feeling. We should really be

Homo amans. For love is what makes us a collective unit.
We are a rare species that mate for recreation

In the name of affection. There is little science to it. It is one bipedal
Creature falling head over heels, to become as blind as a bat.

Myotis lucifugus, who makes little sounds, calling it echo location.
Like a foolish heart searching for love.

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Kitaab, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth. He blogs at –