Christina A. Sharik

(For the Nurses… particularly Raine)

She returned from Vietnam
and tried to rinse the blood
and memories away with alcohol,
which made red mud.
It seared her soul and skin.
(It’s very drying – alcohol –
from the outside in),
and it never
took the pain away,
and it never really
got her clean
but she did her duty anyway
and dreamed her nightly dream…
she put a smile on
in the daylight
and retreated in the dark,
and never thought
that Vietnam
might have left a mark.