Sergeant Mackey

by Dwight Jenkins

Poem


Our Lonely Death

by George Nolta

Poem


Somewhere a Woman Is Building an Ark

by Louise Eisenbrandt

Poem


Solitude by the Sea

by William Anderes

Poem


This Road I Am On

by David Marchant

Poem


Empty

by Michelle Pond

Photograph


His Limbo Soliloquy

By Carl Palmer, Army

Writing Type: Poem

By Carl "Papa" Palmer

--University Place, WA

                                    

"Actually, I like lockdown. I already was before COVID anyway,
but now I’ve got my privacy. No family feeling forced to visit
or hold vigil in my netherworld, he confides through the phone."

Both of us former Army soldiers placing us on common ground
made introductions easier with the usual “where were we when”
comparisons of duty assignments all military members embrace.
 
Though sharing multiple telephone calls these past seven months
since my assignment to be his companion as a hospice volunteer,
I have yet to meet him face-to-face due to pandemic restrictions.
 
Using his bedside number at the nursing home I can call anytime,
not worry about visiting hours, ask if he’s busy, got time to talk.
 
His answer’s most always the same, "Just busy here being alone,
too close to death to complain." Clicking me to speaker, he begins
what he calls “me-memories from a time when when was when.”
 
Mostly musing of being anywhere but there, lost in an actual
   place,
blurring “what was with what is” behind and in front of his
   shadow,
recalling dreams as a younger man, of a future in past perfect
   tense.
 
And times talking of present times from his no man’s land
   outpost,
"All days end as they begin in purgatory, today recopying
   yesterday,
cared for by hosts of faceless masked angels not letting me 
  
   die alone.
 
"Forgive me for only thinking of myself; I just need you to
   hear I’m here.
Inside I’m your age, the two of us sharing a brew at the NCO
   club,
years ago and oceans away, comrades-in-arms talking of our day."
 
To me he’s the sergeant with permanent change of station orders
in transition for his final mission, ending his time on active
   service,
in hopes his God is religious and his terminal assignment is
   good.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Notes: The 90-year-old veteran on Hospice, diagnosed with PTSD and advanced dementia residing in the assisted living facility on pandemic lockdown allowing no visitors other than me through his bedside telephone.

Solitude by the Sea

by William Anderes

Poem


A 1984 Exception

by Katherine Iwatiw

Prose


Jamie and Roxy

by Richard Wangard

Prose


Empty

by Michelle Pond

Photograph


Voices in the Sky

by Paul Nyerick

Array


The Promise

by Nila Bartley

Poem