report on mummified remains

As the organ conceived of as residence of the soul, the one the undertakers

undertook to keep ready and whole, a lantern easily available to light, the

presence of a heart is not remarkable. The ceremonial

 

placement of the body’s other parts—spiced, honeyed, and embalmed or

stuffed, and stored separately in fine jars—would always depend on how far

the individual’s family fortune would extend. The appearance of both the brain

and the lungs still

 

in their organic places is suggestive then. Consider a child so young the pelvi

s shows no growth toward sexual differentiation—why would it be poorly

preserved? Could its parents not afford the proper burial? What child

 

does not deserve an afterlife at least healthy and whole? Yes, the presence of the

heart in this case implies not only the limits of things mercantile but also the peri l

of a soul. Though we no longer acknowledge either gods or kings

 

to have paid the rent on immortality’s house, this relic mocking promises of

eternity still doesn’t rest easy. Girl or boy, that small light you carried into the

rooms of your parents’ flesh is owed you.

Published online March 11 2007.


Poets Who Swing Both Ways cover image

This piece was published in ‘Poets Who Swing Both Ways,’ the Spring 2007 issue of CV2.

Get more great poetry, interviews, and reviews delivered straight to your door four times a year. Subscribe now.