Inspired by A1C Kristi P-L, USAF
By Karen S. Elliott, 2009
She packed up her comfy jeans and lying-around T-shirts,
She shrugs into a heavy canvas uniform, now her second skin.
Boxed up her peep-toe high heels and sandals and stacked them away,
Now all she’s got are dusty high-top boots with heavy tread.
No delicate black eyeliner around lovely hazel eyes,
Just smudges of purple, her badges of fatigue.
No long showers here, nope,
Just unshaved legs so she looks like the rest of the troop.
Forget salon haircuts with mousse or gel,
In marches a permanent helmet-head hairdo.
She strains to remember how lovely that last manicure felt,
Handling weapons with broken, scraggy fingernails, unpolished and blunt.
Velvety cosmetic powder abandoned at home,
She wears the Iraqi desert upon her face.
Late night chat-fest nights with friends of her choosing, no more,
Now, it’s early morning wake-up and drill.
No delicate sparkling pendants around her neck,
Just a dull metal chain with tags that identify her blood type.
While mother’s comforting shoulder and soothing touch wait at home,
She learns combat strategies and how to react to roadside bombs.
Instead of cradling a tiny baby,
She shrugs into a burdened flak jacket that hides her girlish figure.
She rolls out with a loaded M4 and a 9mm Beretta.
Kristi, front (kneeling)