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Tyler Econa

Woodbridge, VA

Woodbridge Senior High


CAS for Database

picture a crowded room of cell tissue and mucus—

inflammatory, involuntary inconvenience,

(and enough chest pain to bankrupt a donut shop),

cough up your lung capacity into birthday candles,

and repeat after me:

my bronchial passages are trying their best!

repeat for the rest of your life, between/albuterol/breaths

try a baby brother, all-grown-up: an athlete, as it turns out—

runs marathons, wins medallions, grows muscular and toned

and you are proud. (he towers over you, still)


I didn’t get the short end of the stick.

there is no stick! there is no short!

I am an extraordinary machine.

my cells’ ability to store excess lipids,

mitosis/meiosis and protein-synthesize, with

an acid-carrying, poison-metabolizing, lactose-enzyme lacking capacity!

nerve endings alight and buzzing. I am not a temple

I am a dynamic goddamn organism.

I will marvel at this contraption— if not for its efficiency,

then because it is mine.

now, turn in the mirror. for a moment, you are a ripe plantain—

pinch and prod at your soft spots. contemplate that random bruise,

the structure of your blood vessels scrambling to restore you.

there is unrequited love bundling through your red-blood-cells, and still

you will regenerate at their will. repeat:

I am an extraordinary machine.


The poem is humorous and original, combining scientific terminology with personal expression. I love how the author conveys their message of the celebration of originality, a concept that in hugely important.


Tyler Econa is a nonbinary writer whose work has been nationally recognized and featured by collaborations such as The Scholastic Art and Writing awards, the Kennedy Center, Susquehanna University’s Apprentice Writer and others. Econa is a member of the Class of 2019 at Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia.

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