Coroner’s Surprise

Open me
And you will see
Not blood –
Dry and with
Lividity –
But instead
Beneath each
Contusion –
Much to a coroner’s
Morbid surprise –
My body did confess
A lifetime’s supply
Of dried tea leaves
No less.

Veins with stains
In browns and greens,
Restorative and remedy
For a life’s mundanity.
Give me no blood, but tea,
Give me afternoon cakes
And sandwich fingers
With wafers and cream;
Give me no war, but traders,
Captains of an industry
Sailing safely through
South Chinese seas;
Give leaders their peace
And sovereignty,
Powder your rusty
Deflagrating buckthorn guns
With wild jasmine seeds,
Elderflower leaves,
For arthritis I have capsicum,
For good memories mustard too,
And when all’s true and done,
And when my ending’s well begun
Bury me with my spoon of yew.

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