Mass Casualty Drill by Peter Vanderberg

Bodies lined on the flight deck warm in the sun, joke & fake death. Clear skies, light breeze: perfect day for a Mass Casualty Drill. Doc leads his new guy over to practice CPR. The dead man shouts, He’s not gonna kiss me is he?

On the bridge they wear helmets & hesitate over laminated procedures. Fill berthing spaces with black smoke, sea water, limbless mannequins. It’s my turn to reach for the captain with a fake wound in my face & mouth the words, Help, it’s not bad but I need to go home. He’ll pretend to pretend I’m o.k. as I’m carried to the flight deck & lain beside a dead sailor dreaming nightmare: this is not a drill.

Peter Vanderberg is the founding editor of Ghostbird Press. He served in the US Navy from 1999 – 2003 and received a MFA from CUNY Queens College. His work has appeared in journals such as Assisi, CURA and LUMINA, and his chapbook Crossing Pleasant Lake has recently been published by Red Bird Press.