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Greg Lobas: Her Animal Self (corrected version)

hit the brakes so hard
it almost sent her back in time.

A minute would do.
Even a few seconds, just before

the van rocketed over the rise, 
launched into her sub-compact like a Scud missile.

Now she is a rabbit in a trap, straining
against dash, frame, steering column

crumpled around her, pinning
her, knuckling her like a fist.

Spray of coolant, oil, gasoline, vapors
in the night, smashed engine’s evening catharsis,     

and everywhere the fire truck’s idle growl.  
Voices shout over jaws-of-life roar. 

Bending metal. Generator flood lights.  
By the time we pry her loose she is ready 

to be gentled. In the shelter of Squad 1 
I kneel next to her, take her fingers

bend them down slightly, almost
as if I am about to kiss her hand.  

She curls her fingers around mine,
squeezes, looks hopeful.  

She thinks I’m offering comfort,
but I am only stabilizing the dorsal veins

of her hand in order to start an IV,
and I wonder if she is embarrassed

when I break free of her grasp, adjust 
the drip rate, check her vitals.                           

She doesn’t know how badly she is hurt.  
Can’t see the splinted leg, can’t feel it yet.					

At the ER nurses rip our splint away, raptors diving in.	
A blaze of merciless trauma room lighting 		

makes everything artlessly naked. She sees now               
that frilly dresses and dancing are the smoke       

of memories.  Hanging by a shred of flesh		
next to the silky, glistening club of her ankle joint,

is a dangling puppet of a foot without the strings.            
She screams and screams, 

her animal-self 
waving her crazy leg 

crazily in the air.
Her panic boils over

spilling onto everyone in the room
like a food blender without a lid.

Nurses lunge, miss, 
lunge again.

Still she screams.  
Still she waves,     

while I stand off to the side 
wishing I had held her hand. 


Copyright 2022 Greg Lobas

Greg Lobas worked as a career firefighter and paramedic for thirty years, attaining the rank of captain. He lives with his wife Meg and their dog Sophie in the foothills of western North Carolina. His full-length poetry collection Left of Center is the winner of the 2022 Dogfish Head Prize.

5 comments on “Greg Lobas: Her Animal Self (corrected version)

  1. Rose Mary Boehm
    May 11, 2023


    “spilling onto everyone in the room
    like a food blender without a lid.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan Tyler
    May 11, 2023

    This still didn’t come through….?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      May 11, 2023

      I’m sorry, Susan. Eventually, the problems with the platform will be fixed. In the meantime, you can click on the title of the email and you will go to the website page where the complete poem can be found.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Susan Tyler
        May 11, 2023

        5/11Hi Mike–I know you’ve been having trouble w/this.  Thanks for sending me an option.I hope it gets fixed soon so you can begin to enjoy your mini-retirement!.You’ve given us a lot, you deserve to put your feet up once in in a while! SGT  

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2023 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged .

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