This entry is part 16 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013


(a partly found poem)

“The death toll could still climb higher, with an additional 1,000 cadaver bags sent to provinces, the disaster council announced as search-and-rescue operations continued in Tacloban City.” ~ from a news report on the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Different cells die at different rates.
Hair and nails continue to grow a little
while, but nature is more efficient.

In the air decomposition is twice as fast
as when the body is under water, four times
more than underground. Clostridia

and coliforms, enzymes; greens and blues
that blister. Methane and mercaptans,
sulfides. More rapid in the tropics,

where the sun brings everything up
to a melon boil. Bluebottle flies,
carrion flies, ants and beetles

and maggots and wasps. Nails and teeth
detach, their ivory falling, letter
after letter that will never

again be sent. After weeks, a month,
a year, a decade: rags and bones,
motes indistinguishable

from dust. Finally
everything the body held,
burst open like a secret.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Letter to Audrey HepburnStage Directions →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.