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In The Red Cross Parking Lot After a Meeting on PTSD

by Pamela Hart

What about your son, Nancy
Flanagan wonders, but really

she wants to talk about her son
Tom, in Afghanistan

who never got with the program
six-two, on the swim team

until he was kicked out of high
school, has trouble with rules

which is how she explains
his wild streak, there’s his hat

on the dashboard
Tom, she insists

won’t make a career of this
her hand brushes the dark

as spotlights halo the white-domed
rescue vehicles around us

next door someone shouts
further off traffic glowers

along the expressway. Nancy
makes care packages, the good

socks, how to get them on the cheap
the rifle bolt she bought him

it’s expensive, doesn’t jam or clog
Tom’s sergeant killed, will Tom get

with the program, the words
rocketing on and on in the night

We are like the Spartan women
how we send them off, the shields

we compare and polish
in the concrete firmament

Pamela Hart is a poet and former journalist whose chapbook, The End of the Body, was published by Toadlilly Press in 2006. Her son is an Army Ranger with the 10th Mountain Division. She is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art, in Katonah NY, where she runs an arts in education program. 

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