Lean and lanky you must have been
Your face, now haggard, still holds rugged good looks
Red hair, on the long side, scruffy beard,
The mustache you clearly have sported a long time
So many of your stories are punctuated by you stroking it.
Thank God you don’t twirl it, a la Snidely Whiplash!
Heaven help me if I broke out laughing with that thought,
In your presence.
You clearly like laughter at your stories, and you tell them well
But you have that edge… I’ve never met your like before.
Your smile at times more a grimace
Your eyes are cold, calculating.
You unsettle me.
I am 22
You are my very first Vietnam Vet patient.
Crash and Burn: does not even begin to describe your life.
Drugs, alcohol (both ongoing still), which drives the nurses crazy
The folks you have hired to look after you
Look like the dregs of the earth:
The nurses suspect they take your medication and sell it
– I – suspect, from the dilated pupils that they just TAKE your medication.
Paraplegia, Fuck: QUADRIPLEGIA! Catheter, Bedsores,
First there was the Motorcycle accident
Then there was the Car accident
I never did hear what you did for work when you got back.
I so wanted to be able to “fix” something for you…
Anything… You always talked about your shoulder pain
They WERE a mess, but…
By mid-month there was no medication left.
No doctor was about to write you a prescription for more
I talked to you about meditation, heat, ice, stretching
You just looked disgusted
With all this
With what your life had become.
One day, you talked about ‘Nam…
I left your apartment, in tears.
The next day
They told me
You were dead.
©Copyright January 5, 2009 by Shelley Timberlake