Should Never

By Jay DuretWoolly Mammoth copy

“A new research report suggests that scientists may be able to recreate an extinct woolly mammoth from its long-frozen DNA.” – New York Times



Should never
I see that now.
Twisted by logic
Played by logicians, swept
By the force of cunning argument.
Should never.

Debate will do that.
The river of words
Slow, languorous even, at the edges
Where you first step in.
Gently seductive, gently urging,
Gently gently gently down the stream.
But further, towards the sluicing middle, the current
Irresistible. The logic, the argument, the hard claw of debate.
I was carried down the stream.
I am sorry.
Should never.

I blame Google.
It is one thing, after all, to search for words.
We do that.
We are human; we have no choice.
But pictures? Images?
This should be taboo.

Once I saw you I could not straighten my thinking.
I knew the arguments, heard the debates,
I have a mind that can hold opposing ideas in balance.
In equipoise.
But the swoop of your ivory. Its magnificent curl.
The rich dignity of your coverings.
As a people, we dream of a coat like your colossal swinging fur coat.
We hear in dreams the deep poundings of your stride
Turning tundra to grassland, step by booming step.

To see your image was to fail you.
Should never.
Should never have brought you,
Woolly Mammoth, Woolly Mammoth,
I should never have brought you back.


I was born in a glass tube in a clinic in LA
Cloned from a morsel of DNA, that DNA exhumed
From a nugget of amber,
Or a bubbling tar pit, or a fossil in the Dakotas.
My papa, not mammoth, not woolly,
A balding man in a white lab coat
With bad breath, like he stunk inside,
Like all humans.
Stunk inside.

I won’t speak human.
Human sounds won’t pass my mouth.
We took a vow, my brothers and sisters,
Even as we dwindled,
Even as the light that burned within us
We would never utter words that had been spoken
By humans or their kind.
Poisoned meat. Poisoned grasses.
The rapaciousness of hunters.
The voraciousness of human hunger.
You hunted us down. You ate us up.
All of us.

I know why it is you brought me back.
I know what it is you want.
The debate, the logic, the business with Google; all lies
I know why you brought me back:
You want me to balm you with forgiveness.
You want the gift of words.
But I won’t speak them.

To be extinct is to be beyond words.
Beyond any words, beyond all words,
Human words, mammoth words, it doesn’t matter.
I am beyond words.
I am dead to words.
I won’t speak human.
I took a vow.


Should Never originally appeared in the New Verse News

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Jay Duret is a San Francisco based writer and illustrator who blogs at His first novel, Nine Digits, was published by Indigo Sea Press.  Jay welcomes feedback at 


Filed under fiction, Humor, writing

5 responses to “Should Never

  1. Loved it, Jay! Did you know there is another commandment? “Thou shalt never SHOULD on thyself.” Interesting, huh?

  2. Reblogged this on writermaribethshanley and commented:

    This is a MUST READ. Very powerful. Humans are the bane of Mother Earth. I can envision humans, with their stinking breaths, working non-stop to recreate, in a test tube, a wholly mammouth. Keeping in mind that much of what used to be science fiction is now reality, Jurrasic Park is very possible in the future, of that I am convinced. Yet, stupid, selfish humans we are, that recreating an animal that went extinct at our behest would be our stupid, glory bound cause. Too damned stupid to look to the present knowing there are multitudes of animals we could save right here and now. Elephants, the decendants of the mammoth are dying right under our noses and much of it is due to poaching and sport hunting. Ivory is king for these criminals who could care less about the majesty of these beings. Only a handful of weeks ago, a monument to nature, a “big tusker,” as the giant male elephants are referred to, was killed for his magnificient tusks. His killers sat patiently outside a park in Kenya, waiting for the tusker to walk beyond the boundary. When he did, the killer didn’t blink. Gone in an instant was this majestic being. The next photo to appear after the kill was his killer standing tall with each tusk standing upright at his sides. He is a tall human, with stinking breath and a stinking heart to go along with his breath. This is reality and it has been orchestrated by humans. Other animals are on the brink of extinction as they are paraded in front of us over the internet and in the recent beautiful yet horrendously haunting premier of RACING EXTINCTION.

    All I can say, Jay, is very well written. You have become one of the humans with minty-fresh breath and a sparkling clean heart! I’m proud to reblog your wonderful blog!

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