the man at the morgue

wrong information


you give me

i stand in beating sun

a snake like line at Home Affairs

A beautiful stranger comforts me when she hears I am here about a death

I race Back to you, to be able to go and identify Him

No, you made a mistake, you tell me “I meant you should have these documents”. I go back and phone you while in queue again.

Just to make sure I heard you right. No you say, the certfied documents are enough in fact, come back.

I leave the queue.

I drive back. five hours have gone since I have tried to identify the body of my nephew, the child I love.

I return. Oops you say I actually do need to go back to home affairs. Law’s changed a few days ago and no one told you.

I am so shattered. all i want to do is identify Him, I start to cry and ask you why you are doing this to me?

You tell me to go home and come back tomorrow when I am calm.

I will never be calm, I have lost my north, south, east west, dont you understand, i shout

your boss intervenes. We’ll keep the morgue open later for you so you can stil do this today.

I go to Home affairs again.

The queue again.

Front of line. You’ll have to come back tomorrow, we’ve run out of paper.

Is this my resistance to the fact that my nephew has died? WHy cant it be smooth? Why cant i do this simple task? They see my desperation and somehow paper appears.

Finally 5.30pm I am in the morgue again

WHy did you talk like that to me in front of my boss, you, the man at the morgue demands

Dont shout at me, I say.

I havent even started shouting , you tell me.

I look at you,  and wonder where you lost your compassion, where you lost your empathy, at what point. I tell you  “I am very traumatised, I dont remember even what I said.” A part of me just wants to placate you . My nephew’s body is in your care. you have the power.

you start telling me about your two ex wives.

I listen but I am not there.

Finally a kind faced man arrives.

He will take me to see my nephew’s body.

I take a final sip of water…

And follow him,

i don’t look back to see your face. i hope i will never see it again


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