Two Poems by ‘Femi Pope

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We die at birth

We die at birth
And life is a postmortem journey thereafter
Every breath, a new incision
Every act, a stripping of fascia from muscle
Mortality is a congenital (dis)order.

Childhood is pallor mortis,
Innocence ebbs away
Blood leaks as capillaries collapse.

Adolescence is raging fire
Reduced to smouldering ash
By adulthood. The fourth decade
Is for re-evaluating ambitions
That once scraped the sky:
Livor mortis.

Middle age is algor mortis
Life weans you off exuberance
A steady decline in thermal equilibrium.

We end in rigor mortis
Body inflexible, mind harder still
Till senescence turns us into stiffs,
Mortality is a congenital disorder.

Death reeks of Savlon

Death reeks of Savlon,
Hydrogen peroxide
And iodine
Spirited disinfectants
Powerless against seeping sepsis.

Death sounds like a lub
And an imperceptible dub
Fading Korotkoff sounds
Coarse crackles
Of a congested lung.

Death feels like cold extremities
Cyanotic and clammy
From squirting femoral arteries
That aggregating platelets cannot stop.

Death is not glazed pupils
Fixed and dilated
Unresponsive to light

It is the hazy reflection
In running water

That wears a mask
Which looks like your own face.


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