HOW I GOT THROUGH by Matthew Borczon

February 15, 2016 by RJ

 

How I got through
I remember
the chest
wounds small
in front
but with
huge exit
sites
I remember
a marine
scolding his
crying wife
when he
told her
his foot
was blown
off on
a phone
I had to
take him
outside
to use
I remember
the manic
soldier asking
gleefully
for coffee
the night
he was
set to
leave for
Germany
and a
psych hospital
I remember
angry marines
sitting guard
at the
foot of
detainees
who would
spit and
swear they
would see
us all
die
and then
eventually cry
real tears
and swear
they were
innocent
or forced
or just
tired of
all the
fighting
I remember
the texture
of skin
grafts
and bloody
stumps that
needed
re wrapped
and infiltrated
IV lines
and pain pumps
on marines
who never
woke up
long enough
to say
anything
I remember
sandstorms
and dysentery
and doxycycline
pills and
the smell
of flesh
burning
and human
feces and
sweat
and bleach
and death
and near
death
and lives
ripped into
pieces
and sewn
back together
but I
do not
remember
any patients
name
and that
is how
I survived.

 

 

MATTHEW BORCZON is a nurse and navy sailor from Erie, Pa. He writes about his time in Afghanistan from 2010-11 and all he saw there. His work has been in many small press journals including Big Hammer, Busted Dharma, Dissident Voice, and Dead Snakes, as well as others. His chapbook A clock of human bones will be published by the Yellow Chair Review in early 2016.

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