Where new writing finds its voice

Sacred Blue

Mia Hart-Allison

Encountering a corpse laid out in a morgue

See how death’s darkness equalises all.
He wears only a shroud of air
and the chemical scent of clinical desecration.
The calm chrome and tile of scientific method
make the corrupting flesh seem more obscene.

Eventually everyone ends up here.
A place with so many people passing through
is bound to be impersonal,
like King’s Cross station but the crowd
is rotting and naked.

The tainted air invades, raping the nostrils,
instantly, indelibly memorised.
The blood has poured away like money,
circling the drain enthusiastically.

Lately a man, now a necrotic carcass, 
insensate as a tombstone. 
This is before the mortician’s make-up
will disguise the livid livor and rigid rigor,
the slack jaw and sunken eyes;

the appallingly still hands that will be folded 
as neatly as the pages of a will,
now lie curled and abortive 
on the relative permanence of the steel table.

The colour of his lips is religious – a sacred blue – 
his skin also cyanotic, paisley-ed with
purple putrescence and sickly pink,
salacious wounds defiling the sanctity of his completeness.
An aching of damp terror seeps into the observer,
unstoppable as a blood stain blossoming on a white sheet.

Existence has deserted him, consigning him to the unknowable.
He is finished, this is his conclusion,
stitched up neatly as a sampler, his sum totalised.
For him only the funeral remains – 
a marriage of endings, bound by oblivion.