Saving Body Parts
John C. Mannone
Just save my heart, and what,
trample on the rest of me?
Maybe save my head, I’m always
But you asked how, not what
is to be saved. That’s easy
I want to save all of me
and I do not mean to be pickled
in a bottle of formaldehyde
or stuffed with herbs and spices
for the sarcophagus. Okay. Keep
the spices in there; I don’t want any
beetles gnawing their way to my bones.
I suppose I could be cut into little pieces
on a medical table. The steel is cold
but I wouldn’t feel any of it. Really,
what part is more important than
any other? Clearly, it’s my feet
because I won’t be able to stand
it, around where I might be going.
Maybe save a leg, I want a leg to stand on…
The rib cage, yes, that’s more important. Save that.
I can remember myself better by it.
And I can keep it in the closet
with all the other skeletons; it shouldn’t
rattle them too badly. I love
my funny bone. Wait. That’s in
my arm… arms. Save the laughter
in case I get sad. Yep, forget the teeth,
I don’t want to be gnashing.
Or my eyes. Don’t save my eyes.
I don’t want to be weeping.
Just save my soul, and the rest
I will get when I come back.
So, okay, go ahead, donate that old
worn out body to the worms.
You can save that for them.
Poet’s Notes: Occasionally, I’ll try to write a funny poem to lighten up the sad atmosphere of many other poems. I try to finesse some of the clichés intentionally used here (they are easier to use in funny poems for some reason). I forget exactly what it was that started this poem. It could have been thinking about checking the organ donor box when renewing my driver’s license. The mostly short couplets seemed to fit a stand-up comedic form.
Editor's Note: Here's a related tune (tangentially referenced in the poem) to cheer you up after reading Mannone's macabre take on death and organ donation. Enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gfhQ91rwZ8.