Modern Mortuary Science

Katharine Merow

I waited calmly—when I died—

Hands clasped on breathless Chest.

I slowed my Mind—shut fast my Eyes—

And longed for wakeless Rest.


I thought about Earth’s warm Caress,

The sweet Release of Rot:

To slowly seep into the Ground,

My former Form—forgot.


I waited for the Hordes of Worms

That would my Self disperse,

And spread me out o’er all the World

That I in Life travers’d.


I hoped to feed a Buttercup,

Enrich a bitter Yew,

That I might reach no Heaven grand,

But tour this Orb—anew.


Excited now, I sent up Shoots

Toward where the Sun had shined,

But found my Movement checked—alas—

In Body—Box—confined.


And then I knew what was my Fate:

An Eyesore e’er to be,

By ’Balmer’s Art a Blemish made,

As now—eternally—



Katharine Merow

Katharine Merow lives, works, and bike commutes in the nation’s capital. She has a perhaps off-putting habit of questioning her friends about what they want to happen to their bodies after they die.

A poem from the April/May 2014 issue of FREE INQUIRY.

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