My Roommate Translated
during Just Cause—lying on his bed,
the darkness, telling me he had to talk,
and I said to talk then and the crickets
were gone and the moon was gone
and the night was ready to harm every-
thing in sight—and he told me how hard
it is to translate screams, that screaming
is its own language, and he told me
how he loved language and now he
hated language and how he only had
eleven months left and then he was
free and when the doctor says that
the COVID ward is just like being
in war, I want to tell him that it’s true
if someone walked in with a gun
and killed everyone, then it would be
war, and I’ve worked in the COVID
wards and I was in a war and I survived
both, because I taped my mask to my
face in the ward and because they
denied my front-line chit in the military
and the helicopter on fire was some-
thing I got hypnotized so I won’t
remember it anymore and when I
worked in the prison system I realized
that America does everything it can
to try to turn people into serial killers
and after I got attacked in there,
the prison wouldn’t return any
of my calls and the phone got
locked up and set on fire and
the evil is in how we don’t really,
not really, speak up and speak out
as often as we should be or we
would be screaming every second.
A nurse told me
that they save the patient
who has visitors. If the patient
is dying and they’re in an empty
room, and there is another patient
dying at the same time and their
room has a visitor, that they always
go to the room with the visitor.
When I taught CPR I found out
that the company liked to hire
people with no medical experience;
that way they could pay them less.
They said I was lucky I got hired,
because I have medical experience.
I did CPR on a baby once.
One of the instructors was telling
a class about doing CPR in a grocery
store. After class, I asked him about it.
He lowered his voice, said he makes it
up, that he alternates the location.
Sometimes he’s doing CPR in a bank,
sometimes at a botanical garden.
He said they tend to like the grocery store
best. I remember looking at him
like he was someone who would try
to kill a ghost, if he could. During the war,
I volunteered for the front lines.
My section leader told me they’d never
send me. They only send people who
don’t want to go, he said. They denied
my chit. I remember when one of the Marines
put his M16 in his mouth. We were on mid-
night shift. He was circling the building,