Tag Archives: Memorial Day

For Memorial Day, “The Trade,” by Karen S. Elliott


The Trade

By Karen S. Elliott

Inspired by Kristi P-L, USAF, Iraq 2009-2010


She packed up her comfy jeans and laying-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 troops

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.


Filed under For The Troops, Prose & Poetry, Special Events