the post-mortem

/ Jennifer Chen (Writer), Helen Huang (Illustrator)

Poetry1 min reading time

Watercolor. Seven mangoes on a table with a small figure curled up in the center of one of them.

now that I’m dead, bury me in mangoes

none of that grotesque open-casket bullshit
where they blot cheap eyeshadow over
festering skin that is already beyond salvaging
(can’t you feel my corpse
rolling its eyes from the absurdity?)

and don’t believe the glassy-eyed assemblage of faces
who ramble nonsense like
oh, she was such an angel...
oh, she died too young at twenty-one...

I hate cliché decorum,
but nowhere near as much as I hate that
in twenty-one years I couldn’t escape from mediocrity

even my death was probably unspectacular in the end
(I imagine that I died from choking on
a mango pit, or something to that effect)

trust me, I am no martyr,
just another artist who gave up
before she started,
another idealist, romantic,
naturalist wanting to believe in meaning
carved from quarks and antiquarks

if there is an afterlife, I haven’t found it,
but I sure hope the mangoes there
don’t have preposterously large pits