Our Lady of the Tank

Our lady of the tank,
In this graveless state,
Your flesh did not go quite the way of all,
Though wet and wrinkled we all will fall.
From the obstetrician to the mortician,
We travel a trivial time,
Proudly putting reason to rhyme,
Germ to term, virgin to carcass.

The sickle swings, the scalpel scrapes,
As through your greasy gift we sift,
Gross whole of petty parts,
Decayed in chunks, displayed in charts.
This breast, where a warm mouth cuddled,
Now lies alone in a chemical puddle,
As does yoru brain, plucked and pickled.
Your universe of cells, each of molecules,
Submits to the ingracious exploration of fools,
Where solid blood awaits within your shredded heart,
Where food oozed through the intestinal mess
To the lumen at the end of the tunnel.

Do your sunken eyes despise
Our semeseter of eternity?
Does your complexity disguise
The hands of some paternity?

When in the hour of reckoning we danced
In the ballroom of the living and the dead,
By tag and timer tested ,
Your last patience we requested,
And having filled in all the blanks,
I whispered in your empty skull my empty thanks.

Peter Draper, Chicago, Class of 1990

Originally published in Vol. IV: 1988