I had a friend once. A veteran who suffers from PTSD. Two years ago, I received a panicky text from one of our mutual friends as I was walking through February ice and snow to buy groceries. The call was to tell me that after several sleepless, nightmare filled nights, my soldier had put on his dress blues and was on his way to Arlington Cemetery. Speaking in tongues mostly but making clear that he wanted to know, wanted to see his final resting place. The panicked email that followed this, from my friend’s daughter just about unhinged my heart and soul. What could I do from seven hundred and fifty miles away?
This is how I remember those moments…
Walking, taking jerky steps as if I were a drunk man’s puppet
My breath wouldn’t come to fill the collapsed balloons of my lungs
I moved, through the blinding sun, with my cellphone in hand
Couldn’t let go of it because you were in it, in the resistors and wires
Wires and connections like the synapses firing, rapid fire thoughts
Thoughts circulating and revolving, mimicking the revolution of tires
I moved. Forward through quicksand. To what? Where? Too far
To bend time. touch your mind. To try to stop the slash and burn
Connected to one thought – your hands on the steering wheel. Turn!
Clutching the proverbial straw. Adrenaline overdose and raw
Nothing else to grab on to. Alone on the phone with PTSD and you
Legs could no longer carry, dropping down into the snow
Weeping to finally hear that slow and wavering hello
Take your finger off the damn trigger!
Beg Ma Bell
Heart stuttering, fingers freezing
Begging deities, pleading, pleading
Invoking my force of will. This is my will!
Force back his hell
11 April 2014
National Poetry Writing Month
See more at the link above.