Fear has a taste.
Burnt off during a long-enough call,
the adrenaline leftovers
But, after the shorties,
(the false alarms where the
occupant actually has enough
familiarity with their own
alarm system to correctly “cancel”
not so much.
Trying to read a book,
Wearing off the buzz enough to sleep,
The heart-burn taste sits in the throat.
The Five-Horse Purr of Sudden Traffic Death
A motorcycle fatality was my first call.
Despite his face bruised purple,
he looked a lot like my dad.
I was turning pretty green,
(they kept assigning me busy work)
especially the CPR part. I’d never seen it done “for real” before.
His damned eyeglasses brought it all home.
Anyway, we had two other fatalities that summer
with the only consistency being the sound of our scene lights
run off a Honda generator.
—Caleb Whitney, Baileys Harbor, WI