“After-Life” by Hugh Giblin


I try to imagine what it will be like,
not how it feels, but how I’ll look
to the young group busy scrutinizing
every detail of my naked prone body,
touching, commenting on its every part.
Am I some sort of vicarious exhibitionist?

 

They will saw off the top of my skull,
glad I don’t have to listen to that noise,
and slice me down from neck to navel.
Of course, I won’t feel a single thing,
its an experience I won’t experience,
not subjective although a subject.

 

They will see parts of me I never have,
an intimacy denied to me while living.
I assume it will all be very clinical,
no bad jokes or untoward behavior.
They will even give me a new name,
a new identity, an afterlife indeed.

 

I wonder if I will have gained a kind of immortality,
the first body, like the first sex, always remembered.
Perhaps the details will be dulled by time
and the many bodies that have passed their eyes.
Maybe only the deadly disease is remembered.
Rather than the person that suffered it and died.

 

The body, like meat in a supermarket case,
each piece carefully labeled, neatly dissected,
the blood sucked off, and placed on display.
The bones, the muscles, the ligaments in logical disarray,
the disparate parts of the skeletal personality,
deconstructed from flesh, blood and bone.

 

The class over, the parts, like the remnants of a festive meal,
are collected and bagged, ready for their final journey
to the crematorium where they will meet their fiery end,
their mission of life and mission of death completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hugh Giblin has been writing poetry for some years. He has been published in local and online journals and won honorable mention in a Duke poetry competition.  He is an omnivorous reader of poetry, likes realism, and is happy to be a minor league poet.