Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

In The Morgue - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

First cut is from the top
slice down the sternum
add side excursions
just above the breasts
to meet the pectorals.
Flip open and inspect,
the gross anatomy,
then search for fluids
in the cavities, and grab
the ladle and the jar
mark all containers
with the patient's name.
Observe and scrutinize
each nook and cranny,
all secret places, just as well
take sample slivers
from the liver and the spleen,
the lungs and all the rest.
Dissect the coronaries
inspect the valves,
and note all scarring
and lost patency for sure.
Then take from waiting hands
the saw for bony parts,
all stainless steel and shiny
then slowly, and with care
but sheer indifference
cut off the top so it will look
like soldiers' helmets do.
A delicate procedure
to separate the brain
from its so crowded home
and do present it, well intact
onto a plate, where it will sit,
to be first photographed
then weighed with all the rest
then probe the convolutions,
note vessels that may leak
and peel the great pituitary
with surgeon's fingers
from the bony seat,
the sella turcica.

It's all, as you might say
the work I do each day,
and nothing special,
just routine engulfed in formalin,
we make our jokes,
our laugh can chase the silence
and the ghosts away.

And now and then, I do
reflect, and really wonder
about the soul beyond the flesh
and whether life was good
and long enough for them.

It's when I stuff the rags
and paper towels,
and the local paper,
hospital notes and news
and rubber gloves
back into what had been
and not too long ago
a real human, just like me.
I sew him up and know
that all the dead would understand
the sense of humour
that I need to do it all.


Comments about In The Morgue by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (3/22/2006 8:37:00 AM)


    Particularly enjoyed how the dead would relate to your sense of humour that agreeably would be a necessity. I am visualized by the Mad Science Doctor...laughing with every slice lol. Good poem! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/22/2006 7:33:00 AM)


    Depends on where and how you die, Mary. A certain percentage will be cut.
    Cremated? My will says cremation only if the one who orders it joins me. It is too hot, too barbaric and 0.2 % of cremated bodies worldwide were alive when the fun started.
    Besides that, I want to meet my former girlfriends in the afterlife loking prsentable, not all burned and shrivelled.
    Best
    H
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2006 6:50:00 AM)


    Oh my.......this is gross! I plan on being cremated so hopefully less people will be poking and prodding my corpse. (Do they normally do this if you're cremated?) Very informative write of course....just gross) :) Sincerely, Mary (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2006 5:19:00 AM)


    Yuk! ! I'm just glad that not everyone is as faint-hearted as I am. G. (Report) Reply

  • (3/22/2006 5:15:00 AM)


    THANK YOU FOR THIS INSIGHT INTO HOW A DOCTOR DISSECTS THE HUMAN BEING AFTER DEATH HERBERT, YOU WILL BE GENTLE WITH ME IF I HAPPEN TO WANDER INTO YOUR TERRITORY AFTER OR BEFORE DEATH
    JUST BETWEEN YOU AND I, I'M PETRIFIED OF BEING NICKED WHEN I'M SHAVING SO MAKE WITH THE LONG STROKES, PLEASE
    hERBERT SOME ONE GAVE YOU A ONE, I GAVE YOU TEN JUST TO
    KEEP ON YOUR GOODSIDE

    WARM REGARDS ALLAN
    (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, March 22, 2006



[Report Error]