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Selective Service Decision to Defer Him After his Psychiatrist Wrote a Letter

He couldn’t kill anyone but himself,
and even that he couldn’t do.
He lay in the hospital bed after
his suicide, and heard someone dying
several beds away. Her screams
from a darkness no one wanted
to hear, for she was afraid to die.
He remembered the body bags
televised on the tarmac about
to be flown back from Vietnam.
His doctor was named Slaughter
who asked him questions of his love life.
He didn’t know what to say,
after she checked his vitals
and suggested the psych unit upstairs.
There he lay without knowing
why he suffered so, knew boys
who had never made it home.
Boys who had triggered landmines
in Vietnam, and he shivered,
wondering if he had sacrificed
anything in his attempt to die
and grasped both his balls
to see if he still had them.




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