Christina A. Sharik

PTSDEGREES

PTSD is bad, says he; I’m bothered all the time.
Is it? asked the other. Is it as bad as mine?
Well, you know, I have these flashbacks
and the depression’s quite a bore.
And the other said: I’ve had all that
since I came back from War.
And a mother spoke up then and there
and with a tear, she said:
Could I have something wrong with me?
You see, my son is dead.
And I keep having nightmares
that he calls to me and cries –
he’s trying to reach out to me
at the moment that he dies.
And a nurse piped up and
said to me:
I think I’ve got them beat.
In the contest for the flashbacks,
mine are a repeat
of the ones I lived all through the War,
the ones I still have today…
I was the one he reached out to –
when there was nothing left to say –
And a wife stepped up and said her piece:
how she’d been afraid each day –
waiting for an airmail letter
from oh, so far away…
I wonder, are there differences
in how these people feel?
And their dreams, and mental slide shows –
aren’t they colorful and real?
And a Red Cross Donut Dollie
looks at me and wants to know
why her friend was murdered
in Saigon so long ago.
So I wonder in my heart of hearts,
can someone help me, please?
Is there an illness measured
in
PTSDegrees?