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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Poem Written Shortly After Leaving the Morgue

for M. John

No Seventh Seal
No game of chess
Just a sign by the building’s entrance
Announcing the Hours of Identification
From 9:00 to 5:00
And the computer screen
Turned discretely my way
To enable the speedy display
Of your bloated visage
Pixilated and distorted
Just like an internet meme
Almost beyond recognition
Identification seems pointless
As you've fled the jurisdiction
Where Habeas Corpus has no effect 

Now a poet
May do well
To deny death’s dominion
But setting verbal niceties aside
I see no point in denial
When it comes to such vast holdings
Which extend to the far horizon and  
Now include yet another dear brother
On a slab in this Midtown necropolis

*  *  *  *  *

Yesterday I was charged with the responsibility of identifying a friend’s body in the medical examiner’s office, which served as the prompt for this poem.   From the garden on Sunday to the morgue on Monday, a poet is well advised to travel with a pad and pen close at hand, in order to keep a running chronicle on life and death.


  1. I love this. I've had to do the same for my second husband. I know that feeling. My condolences to you.

    1. Thanks for your email Louise. What your wrote in response on Goodreads is very beautiful - death carries the letters of my heart to those on the other side. It lends a much deeper significance to correspondence that bears a "forever" stamp.