|
A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
Click on a line to comment

Uniforms

In nursing school we wore

     white, always. At Letterman, the army hospital,

we wore, always, our army nurse uniforms.

So when I went on the ward

     wearing a buttoned-down shirt and slacks,

Danny looked at me and said,

“So, you’re really going.”

“Yes, Danny. I’m really going.”

“Well. Well, you look ready for it.

I just hope

Montana’s ready for you. Really,

you look grand, Nurse Thurston. Like

Amelia Erhart, ready to

     take on the world. Just don’t go getting lost

     over the Pacific, y’hear?”

I assured him I’d not be crossing

     any oceans at all.

“And that young man of yours had better

     take good care of you,” he said,

     “or he should be looking over his shoulder

     for a fast-moving one-legged man

     in a very bad mood.”

“I’ll tell him.”

“Good,” he said. “That’s good.”

There was a pause I could neither

fill nor break; then Danny

thrust out his hand. “Take care then,

Linda. And don’t be a stranger.”

“I won’t,” I promised, taking his hand.

I all but ran from the ward to the medicine closet where

Rose turned from doing inventory

to let me cry in her arms.

“I thought,” I sobbed, “I was supposed to feel happy.”

“I reckon you’ll feel happy enough

     tomorrow night,” she said.

“Rose!”

“Well, I mean it. What’s so shocking about that?

Think of this as just

getting misery out of the way

               for a while.

     It’s your dose for the month. Cry today,

               smile tomorrow.”

“Are you going to tell me that April showers

     bring May flowers?

“No, but I was thinking that every cloud

     has a silver lining.”

“Yes,” I agreed mournfully. “I guess I’d never seen so clear

     that every gorgeous sunrise

     has a cloud. Goodbye, Rose.”

page 141