Final Preparations by Elaine Sorrentino

One button at a time
   I wonder if her mother text messaged her
she carefully secures the front
   to say, “good luck on your first day”
of the freshly pressed uniform shirt,
   and “please be careful out there.”
then gingerly reaches down to
   I’ll bet she signed off with “I love you.”
fasten the buttons at the cuffs,
   Who would ever imagine being gunned down
and reverently lowers the arms
   on your very first call?
of the 28-year-old fallen officer.

With ceremony and respect
   Just a routine domestic disturbance call
she fastens the shiny new silver
   probably something most officers
police badge to the breast pocket,
   answer every day, so why –
noting there was not a scratch on it,
   why did this one end so tragically?
and gently brushes back the stray
   The irony is not lost on me
strand of hair from her forehead,
   former marine reservist killed
then carefully lays the body
   by current army sergeant.
of Officer Ashley Guindon
   Whatever went terribly wrong,
into the waiting casket
   I hope it does not deter others
so that hundreds might
   with the same ambition and tenacity
pay tribute to this young woman
   who are driven to serve.
who was driven to serve.

 

(This piece is written from the viewpoint of an undertaker preparing a young, slain police officer for burial. The lines alternate between what the undertaker is doing, and what the undertaker is thinking.)

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