THE NUMBER ONE RULE
Like Raven in northwest coast mythology, war tricked us and came through the smoke hole in our house. “Normal” was a video conversation on Skype every few days—when the Internet worked—or a phone call once a week. My husband was a medical officer for the U.S. Coast Guard’s combat unit, the PSU 311 out of San Pedro, California.
I figured there was hope for ending the war if we could sneak in a poet or two. When I packed my husband’s books into his duffle bag, I included a copy of Here Bullet by Brian Turner along with other required readings. During a Skype conversation, I asked my husband if he was writing about war and he said he’d written down some notes, which were evolving into a poem, something about mass casualty drills. His mentor during that time was poet Linda McCarriston.
Myself, I’ve begun to write poems about the experience of being a new military wife. I wrote a poem about the first dream I had the night my husband left for
. I dreamed Godzilla charged after him spewing smoke and fire trying to kill him. I was hopeful that when he returned from war, we'd have many poems to share with one another. Now, that he's been back a year, our poems are still emerging. Sometimes we share them, other times we talk around them. But every morning we start the day with writerly shop-talk. In our marriage we've always had this one rule: during morning coffee, we can only talk about writing. During his stint in the Middle East, we substituted another number one rule: Come home alive. Kuwait