I walk past the morgue in the hospital
Underbelly on my way to the key shop,
Resigned to replacing the keys I lost
Two weeks ago. I try to think solemn
Thoughts as I pass and glance inside,
My mood something like prayerful.
Intentions are intentions, even when
They don’t quite materialize into words.
When does a person become a body?
When does a body stop being a body,
Or stop being someone’s body?
When does it become substance of some other sort?
Can we be so sure it does if we never
Witness the body’s final dissolution?
There, in the deathbed or in the morgue?
Perhaps, somewhere en route, where soul
And body go their separate ways; One to
_______, the other to the morgue with certainty,
The new arrivals of the lately departed.
Speaking of letting the dead pass on, Kent said,
“Vex not his ghost: O, let him pass! He hates him much
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.”
What’s the opposite of haunted?
A place where bodies exceed souls, if only
For moments in passing.
Christopher Fettes is a program coordinator in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at UAMS.