Christmas 1968


the whole hospital hurt.
my bed hugged a corner
and the ward ached
away from me.
endlessly away.

I remember Nurse Merz,
who saved my leg,
and Fender,
who lost his.
mine was a small world.

we had clean sheets.
no one wanted to kill us
at night.
it was Christmas.

after rounds,
the medics
brought us shots of whiskey
in dosage cups.

far away to the south,
the hills
were swallowing people up.

I almost slept
without dreaming.

Norm Milliken

(106th. Army Evacuation Hospital, Kishine Barracks, Yokohama, Japan)

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