Vox Populi

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Greg Lobas: Her Animal Self

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.

11 comments on “Greg Lobas: Her Animal Self

  1. Barbara Huntington
    May 11, 2023

    I received an amended copy but haven’t read it because the one I received affected me so strongly. I was a premedical advisor for 20 years. I still keep in touch with m as my of my students who went into many medical fields. I sent it out to them


    • Vox Populi
      May 11, 2023

      Thanks, Barbara. I didn’t know you were a premedical advisor.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Barbara Huntington
        May 11, 2023

        This old bat has been a lot of things. Still keep in touch with elementary school students I taught in late 60s early seventies. Also did marketing research for Carter Harley Hale Dept Stores ( they might still be around if they had listernedvyo me about customer service), tech writer for Hughes Aircraft, part owner of Huntington computing during the Apple ll wonder years, director of a program to get underserved. Students into PhD programs ( got to talk to Maya Angelou to get permission to use “still I rise” on our logo for McNair scholars program, and oh I love my students who hsve become medical professionals, some have become first responder, some docs, vets, nurses, on and on. Although I always wrote poetry for myself, I have only recently in my 60s snd 70s sent it out ( mostly it is still just for me)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    May 11, 2023

    This one caught and held me. The picture is clear. The external and internal view. The end, oh the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      May 11, 2023

      Yes, and the poem is made more powerful, at least for me, knowing that Greg was first responder for 30 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mbarryf
    May 11, 2023

    Where is the content? This sort of failure is happening regularly.

    Michael Frank

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      May 11, 2023

      I apologize for the technical glitch which causes a blank page in the email. You can access the content by clicking on the title of the email and you will go directly to the poem.

      The problem is caused by a malfunction of the WordPress platform, and I’ve been assured that the problem is being addressed and will be solved.

      Michael Simms, editor of Vox Populi.


      Liked by 2 people

      • mbarryf
        May 11, 2023

        Thank you, Michael.

        Sent from my iPhone

        Liked by 2 people

    • Barbara Huntington
      May 11, 2023

      I just tap on the title snd it comes up


  4. melpacker
    May 11, 2023


    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2023 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , , , .

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