squame-crossed lovers

One look at the spindly cell above
and Billy Basal was in love,
but hemidesmosomes had him confined
and wouldn’t let him cross any lines.

A life in the basal layer isn’t fun,
his mom still calls him “hun,”
all he wants is a glimpse of the sun,
and a thicker skin (forgive the pun).

In the basal layer, there’s always a fight,
mom to the left, cousin to the right.
No time for shenanigans even at night,
like serenading his love in candlelight.

Now is the time, he thought,
it’s now or never, I’ve only got one shot,
to differentiate or not, he was fraught.
But for her? It was worth getting caught.

In the end, it wasn’t for him to decide,
his integrins soon fell to the wayside,
a fate sealed after his mother cell divided,
so away from the stratum basale he glided.

Before he knew it, Billy was so close
to the one he’d wanted to approach,
but before he could work up the nerve
his cell membrane began to curve!

Am I this out of shape? he muttered,
but then his heart started to flutter
when landing snug next to his love,
she reached out and gave him a hug!

Link to my cytoskeletal filaments! she pled.
Billy was happy he didn’t have to beg,
and to his love he happily anchored.
Does this mean we wed? he wondered.

But his fading nucleus filled with dread
when he realized he’d been misled.
She wasn’t exclusive and neither was he,
desmosomes, see, don’t form discreetly.

Linked to more cells than he cared to know,
he no longer wanted to open a Bordeaux.
Nothing lasts forever, the other cells sighed,
but Billy was set on making her his bride.

Days turned into weeks, hope into fear,
and migrating through each layer,
his grip was only getting weaker,
’til he realized she wasn’t a keeper.

Dense and deflated (and then some),
he entered the stratum granulosum.
It’s hopeless, he sighed, preparing to die.
Full of granules, I’ll never catch her eye.

Billy Basal died and took a hit to his pride,
but he and his lover were together cornified.
One atop the other, I guess it was fate,
that is, until they desquamate.

So if love doesn’t always go your way,
remember, tomorrow’s another day.
You’ve more than four weeks to find love,
more than a skin cell could dream of.


–last updated on 6/25/18–

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