I’m finally back from vacation. We are well but tired… I watched most of the Republican Convention and am in the midst of reviewing the Democratic Convention. I wish more people would watch BOTH sides of the damned “aisle”!
Couldn’t stop thinking about the troops as I watched those foolish delegates in their funny hats, all having fun during what should be a defining moment in politics. So here is my tribute to one selfless servant. Peace, Amy
Nurse in the Field (Afghanistan)
Nine hours into her shift
she steals a moment to smooth
errant hairs, captured and secured by
mock tortoise side combs.
The last wave was
a mind-numbing parade of
the barely living
and the too-soon dead.
Checking the morphine drip on
an amputee, she wonders why
nurses dress in pastel scrubs.
Cruel joke, the blood spatter,
carrying iodine-splattered lost limbs
across to the bins.
She used to count the number
of fingers and toes per shift; something
to divert her mind from the horror.
Now she breathes in madness, exhales exhaustion.
In WWI, they were gassed and blinded.
In the Second, shot or blown to pieces by grenades.
In Nam (where her mom served), they bathed our boys
in the finest toxins Dow and co. could manufacture.
Agent Orange could kick 007’s ass easily, if slowly.
Now men and women are hit by drones, as
stateside geeks “do battle” like a game of Pac-Man.
They cannot be sure of their target other than from
“actionable (questionable) intelligence.” Tonight
it might be a grandmother and her family, or the
piece de resistance of warspeak: “Friendly fire.”
The nurse strips fatigues from a screaming airman.
His legs lie still but arms are flailing like a meth-head.
Restraints: cruel but necessary as she injects morphine.
Evidence of spinal damage, extensive brain trauma…
She croons, “Slooooow down, we’ve gotcha.” Her
honeyed voice seems to sooth him, “You’re gonna
be all ri-” Then the flat line no greased paddles will stir.
She’ll hear five final, strangled exhalations before
her break comes up. A few hours of sleep, and
she’ll emerge looking refreshed, gearing up for
the second-roughest game in Kabul:
Patching up the pawns, gurneyed pieces
from the chess board of battle.
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil