Mother Mary

By Chris Dahl All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Poetry

Chapter 15

lonnie didn’t have to go to the war it was a false alarmbut he was never the same after thatall he could see were strawberry fields and keep his eyes closed until one day they were out doing bayonet drills one dayhe told the doctor that they had to line up in rows of five with their bayonets fixed on their rifles and then the sergeant would yell charge and they had to run screaming across the training field bayonets first at the sandbag dummy men and they had to stab the sandbag dummy men and think they were viet cong think they were dirty communists think they were his enemy who deserved to dieand he ran and he ran and he stabbed the sand bag dummy menthen he told the doctor waiting in line for his next turn he saw wave after wave of soldier boys running past where the sandbag dummy men hung by their silted head on a wooden gallows ran past them and fell off some precipice that was just beyond the gallows and he saw them falling and falling nowhere

that night he shot himself in the foot

The Journals

WED:

9:30 am – 20 mg ATIVAN

take ride – apples/rentals

Andy will return late –

Fax if necessary

2 second call to dad

Appointment w/ Marian

Re: vision and blood pressure

(AMBIEN + STRESS + FATIGUE)

no mediator –

he’s scared/business

Don’t know my future needs & can’t

Walk yet – you not looking at stuff

Lonnie

SUBJECT: Request for Discharge in Lieu of Trial by Court-Martial

1. The Request for Discharge in Lieu of Trial by Court-Martial submitted by PFC L. Kahner, 42nd Infantry, Rainbow Division, Fort Drum, NY, UP AR 635-200, Chapter 10, is hereby APPROVED.

2. I direct that PFC L. Kahner be discharged from Military Service under the provisions of AR 635-200, Chapter 10, and that his service be characterized under Other Than Honorable Conditions.

3. The pending court-martial charges against PFC L. Kahner will be dismissed after SSG

receives his DD Form 21 4.

4. I direct that PFC L. Kahner be reduced to the lowest enlisted pay grade, PVT (E-1) XAW 635-200, paragraph 1 - 13.

5. PFC L. Kahner will not be transferred into the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) as he clearly has no potential for useful service under conditions of full mobilization. Transfer is not required. (AR 635-200, paragraph 1-35.)

6. In accordance with AR 635-200, paragraph 1-20, if the soldier is a bonus recipient, unearned portions of any enlistment bonuses will be recouped.

I further direct that PFC L. Kahner be separated from the Army within five working days.

Harry Spillman

Major General

Commanding

Mary Alice

…. it was no accident just a stinking lie but no accident

shit the swamp stinks like shit this time of year stagnant waterblack water like a mirror that kicks back the stink of it all the way a mirror reflects the truth of who you are except with water you can reach down beneath the surface and find a hand full of sludge or the rotting bones of a cat with its broken pelvis bone where christy missed and hit the back legs instead of behind the front quarters where the heart is one shot through the heart ends itbroken bones leave you wounded in the water leave you limping through years miserable wondering why you ever laid your hands on that damned woman and how you ended up with kids in a house somewhere in the country

why

the storm is rolling in over the trees the clouds hang low and gray and sag with rain ready to burst

gonna rain lonnie says with the meat between his teeth you can see the white underneath the leaves

the cows were laying down up by myers corners christy says and then he says hey you gonna be able to make it on that foot in the rain

i’ll be fine lonnie says and spits out a piece of grizzle on his plate the saliva of his mouth mixes with the blood of the meat and runs pink along the plate you just hope you can keep up the rain doesn’t bother me so muchthe cold now the cold gets me

so we’re still on

come hell or high water or a cold snap lonnie says

but everything is still in the winter those trees violent with hushing winds showing their white underbellies and those waters swaying with the stiffness of the torrid winds so the reflections of tree limbs bend and quiver are nothing when the cold comes and stills everythingnothing lives nothing grows ice drips in sharp fur from the crackling branches and showers twinkling light through the ice but there are no blooms to die and no flowers to wither everything is and only is and cannot be anything but what it is just then in that hardened flash of the eyethen snow will come and there is no water no trees no brush for the dying animals to crawl off intothe snow will come and take away all the noise that rattles through lurching limbs cover us in white and leave us beto be

i guess you have another one of those god damned appointments tomorrow lonnie says

yes i say and turn away i don’t want to see his facecan’t see his face anymorethe last time i could see his face the last time i could look at his face was before we walked by the river and held hands and then i saw him as only a shadow encased in light and i heard him running away to get help and since then i have never been able to see his face to look at his face

which one this time

rod i say and look at christy mary had her child without being touched and wise men followed a star and came to see her and brought the child presents and he was the newborn king but i had my child with the sweat from lonnie dripping down on medrip drip dripping on my forehead and him grunting and groaning and the joints of the beds even squeaking for mercy he got so fat and soft and heavythe springs almost gave when he blew his load and rolled over to his side of the bed and heaved a sigh

who’s this rod

he does massage therapy

massage therapy lonnie says that’s a new oneit used to be you could go downtown and get some massage therapy when you got paidnow they call these people doctors

i want to say he’s an angel but i don’t want him to laugh and then yell again when lonnie yells i get nervousi shake and can’t stay stillhe yells and i want christy to come up and do something but he doesn’t so i don’t say rod is an angel but i know he ishe comes to me when he can with his doctor’s board and I can feel his hands on my back flesh on flesh my face flush against the soft doctor’s board his thumbs working up each step of my spine and pressing where one needs to be put back into place and when they snap there is a warmth a heat a light and i know he’s an angelhe’s a spirit not like the ones that sneak along in the dark when the lights go off or the ones that make the phone ring when I’m alone in the house or the shadows of my pursuernohe’s good

what’s this guy costing me lonnie asks and throws his knife and fork on the plate i shake as they rattle against the porcelain plate

it’s covered i say insurance covers it

insurance covers this massage doctor oh well i guess it’s covered

christy and lonnie are not here they are notthe rain won’t comethe thunder rolls over the roof and shakes the ceiling beams the clouds droop heavy outside the window but they won’t drop their load

Mother Mary

Dear Christy,

Well, I’m back home after a quasi-“rest” at Nan and Granpa’s house. (House too hot, missed seeing you, missed games, but too sick to care at the time.)I feel a little better now, it’s quieter here than in New Jersey and your own bed is best no matter what.

Aunt Bern and I met Ashley at the ice cream store and Christine said she looked like a cheerleader – what a coincidence. She asked me to have you write to her.

Hope you get a lot out of your experience this year. Probably would be repetitious to go out next year.In fact, you might enjoy Spring Break away next year.Fourth of July was celebrated by Lucek and us with a bang with Lt. Lucek and Colonel Lonnie getting smashed and blowing up the yard.Tommy was hyper all night and caught a frog in the bog.Christine spent a good portion of the time checking out Melissa and decided she likes her.Liam and Melissa are getting too serious too soon – Liam really falls hard, wants to move out and live with her – big mistake and too expensive.

Kim said Jeff smashed up his truck and is signing into Quiet Acres for drinking. What a group of friends you have.Todd made a fool out of himself again on the Fourth and some girl’s car got smashed into outside and there was a big deal.Liam said you missed nothing.Typical.

Love You a Bunch,

M

p.s. Call collect any time. Just press “0”, the operator button, and ask to place a collect call.

Mary Alice

… i can’t be alone they are not hereliam is herehe’s downstairs locked in his room like he always is playing that stupid music of his trying to drown out the whole world trying to drown me out with his stupid guitar and musiche says i did something to him but he won’t tell me whathe never tells me whathe said this time was the last time i would do anything like that to him again and he slammed the door in my face and i heard him lock itthat day i told him i would kick that door right ini told him he just couldn’t go around accusing me of something i didn’t do and locking me out of his lifei was his mother god damn it and he just couldn’t make up these stupid lies about me forever and think he can get away with it just because he’s having problems with girls or at school or with making friends or whateverit’s not my faulti didn’t do anything wrongi told him that day that if something was happening to him if someone was doing something to him that he should tell mei am his mother and he just yelled from the other side of the door

i can’t even talk to you you know what you diddon’t pretend it wasn’t youjust leave me alone until i leave this god damned housejust don’t touch me anymore

don’t even talk to your mother like that young man i told him that day he locked me outif you don’t know what you’re talking about

nothing

he said nothing after thatthere was only music coming from the room and every time i knocked for dinner or breakfast

he never said anything

he’d wait until i left and then when i came home i’d find dirty dishes in the sink and wet towels on the bathroom floor where he had washed then he’d scurry back to his holebut he was there and he’d have to listen to me if i told him i was left alone and there was a storm

you know what you did don’t ever touch me again i’m sick of you touching me like that

ring

ring

ring

the phone

someone is there on the other endit might be eileenit might be joanneit might be lonnie or christymy family might be calling to say everything will be okaybut the last time i was alone there was no voicethere was only an empty heaving silence like the breath of a cartoon villain like the drawn breath of the man who slinks across my room when the lights go out who leans over me when it’s dark and i can’t breathehe steals my breath unless someone sees him and then he runs away into the corner of the closet by those high heel shoes that hurt my feet the ones i never wear

ring

ring

ring

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