An Army Nurse in Iraq

By Philip C. Kolin – Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA - 19 February 2012


She kept violets in her tent
A reminder of beauty, flapping
In the folds of canvas and gore.
She dressed their wounds
In spearmint leaves
And put holly around their shredded
Shoulders for safekeeping.


She tried to remember
Their memories for them, so many
Translations of pain got in the way.
The divine pledged rock
They first had to combat the sand


She wiped out of their eyes, thoughts, and
Fingers praying cell phones
Calling home, calling home, calling . . .


Triage tours wore the weight
Of gurneys rushing
Toward lanterns of yellow and red
Mistaken for flares by those from
Base Camp Delirium under orders
To reach the soothing white of eternity
She held in her hands.