Immune System Poem

This is a work that depicts parts of the human body’s immune system through rhymes. It tells the story of an Indian character, Nishant, and the venom from his snakebite. The scenario is obviously made-up and is a blatant roleplay of me as a father to Nishant.

The Savior of the Fool

Once upon a time, I had a child named Nishant
Not the smartest of boys, for he’d dance with a snake
Playing in the dangerous fields of populated Fremont
The bite caused his immune system to wake

The protection within Nishant’s body
Was slaughtered by the killers of fun
The only savior was the serum of a horse
Or his body and life would be done

I threw the Indian boy into my van
And drove him to the doctor’s office
He was panicking in the back
And unleashed a stream of piss

My question came out quickly
“Did it puncture your first line of defense?”
Yet what Nishant blubbered out
Made barely any sense
I groaned at his tiny mind
And glared at my Indian kin
“Your first immune shield is—
obviously the skin!”

The doctor took him into a secluded room
And gave Nishant the antivenom
I believed he could be given it again
But the Doc said, “You can’t get ‘em!”

“You can’t be saved again.”
I knew we couldn’t twice-use the horse
Nishant’s blood was only once-defended
From his screams, his voice was hoarse

My clever little Nishant asked the doctor,
“What is the immune system?”
The doctors wiped his hands of the antivenin
And prepared to share his wisdom

“The immune systems has a first line of defense,
Starting with the skin, which the snake pierced brutally,
From there the poison entered your body
But don’t worry: you’ve got your humoral immunity!”

“Humoral immunity is not like my humor;
Not all fun and games for the mood to be lighter
But instead, it forms the great warriors of immunity—
The glorious antibody; a true fighter.
“The antibodies are guided by memory,
As the troops are informed by the best:
Amazing memory B-cells
who recall HOW to defeat the pest.”

Nishant then said, “I remember this from class!
The cell-mediated immunity, the killer T cell!”
The white doctor chuckled to himself and said,
“Yes, those ravagers put the venom through hell!”
“Cell-mediated immunity is based around the T cells,
All differing types, from killers to quells,
But the forced true outcome is:
The deaths of the infected cells.”
The Indian boy’s eyes grew wider than they were,
And he said, “If my body can form its own antibodies,
Why did we bother with that horse stuff….
The antibody-filled serum of ponies?”

This time I was the one who answered,
Because I remembered this from a class lecture
I thought for a couple moments about it
And finally put forward my conjecture

“You see, the horse is naught but an aid,
A support for your immune system.
The horse is exposed to the venom,
And the produced antibodies save the victim!

But the Doc said you can’t use it again,
Because whilst the horse antibodies protect,
They spend their lives to the venom
Yet still would get wrecked

If the horse antibodies entered again,
Your memory B cells never forget
They would fight off the foreign filth
And view them as a threat
So although the horse antivenin saved you
It is still a horsey foreign material
And as we all know, your body
Builds a shield against the bacterial.”
The doctor exclaimed, “I could not have said it better,
For that was quite the eloquent feature,
Whomever must have taught you all that
They were quite a good teacher!”
That night I took Nishant home,
And tucked him into bed
But before he fell asleep, exhausted
“You’re the best daddy ever,” he said.

By Shivang Shelat


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