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Green Berets by Mik Everett


Lisa pacing the halls of ICU:
Father emerges from a room,
trailing wires and tubes,
saunters to the nurse’s station,
rips a sheet of paper from the machine recording electrocardiograms
“We’re at Marine Isotopic Stage 11. Call me when we get to Stage 4.”
and marches back to his room.
(Lisa and the nurse’s aid still staring)

Lisa at her father’s bedside:
“Lisa, what are you doing here? I’m not that sick.”
“Dad, you have stomach cancer.”

Little Lisa: on the day
she went to work with him
and it rained oil
and he promised to take her to Turkey.

Lisa: bringing her father some magazines and books
“Lisa, what are you doing here?
So kind of you to come visit, but
I’ve got a little get-together on the starboard deck
with my friends the Green Berets.”
and waves at the green-capped mint-scrubbed nurses.

Lisa and her father at some farmer’s pond:
noodling for catfish
which her dad says is illegal
but it’s still the best way to catch catfish.

Lisa: on the day her mother kicked her father
out of the house
or he left
or something.
This came shortly after the day he lost the oil company
and the day he lost everything
and the day
and the day

Lisa: on the day
she graduated from college.
No dad.

Lisa: on the day
she saw her father on the news
drunk and homeless.

Lisa: on the day her father quit drinking
and sobriety ended in a coma

Lisa. Again.
“What are you doing here?”
You have stomach cancer. Don’t you remember?”

Lisa. Again.
“What are you doing here?”
You have stomach cancer.”


“Lisa, what are you doing here?
I’m not that sick. You didn’t have to come all the way
to Turkey. It’s just a bug. But God,
am I hungry. Do they ever let us eat
around here?”
It’s okay.
We’re going to go have dinner with the Green Berets.”

Mik Everett is a former logic clinician, model, and bookstore owner. She is currently an author, editor, and mother. She is the author of the novels ‘Turtle: The American Contrition of Franz Ferdinand’ and ‘Memoirs of a Homeless Bookstore Owner.’