post mortem by Ohia Ernest Chigaemezu


post mortem

the icy air, light from aureoles,
huge body chambers, make the
long, white room a
walk-in abattoir, or a spacious kitchen,
or a private museum opened
for cutting up bodies.
in the middle of the room,
the slumped over body
of a naked woman lie on a metal table.
the skin— weather beaten and
grey― is taut, the feet are puffy; blackening,
her hair is matted with
an almost dried, crimson blood.

it takes six hours to disassemble a body;
to carve out organs in automation,
weigh them, measure them,
examine the way they interacted
before death. four residents enter, faceless butchers,
their figures draped in one-use garments.
they pause for instructions.
i walk up to the body and
turn it over slowly. in death she
has a knowing smile, her bluish lips
curled to a corner. i pick up a scalpel,
make a large Y incision, and watch
as thick beet juice drip down the trough.

Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

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