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“The Navy Wife”

Volume 8 | Spring 2018

by Jane Fitzgerald

She sat stone still

Staring at a blank screen

Its dullness reflected

How she felt inside

Too tired to move

She had been alone for months

His return a phantom ship

On the lost horizon

The only sounds in the still darkness

Were the hum of the refrigerator

And the occasional jet overhead

The children were finally asleep

The quiet washed over her

Like a precious gift

She could hardly bear to think

Of the baby bottles and dirty wash

Perpetually waiting for her

Demanding attention before

She could fall exhausted into

The bed meant for two

Only to be woken up

By screams from a hungry baby

She knew there would be isolation

When she eagerly pledged to him

It seemed so remote then

Reality struck with his first deployment

She had fought against it

Now she was resigned

Willing herself to conquer each day

Shouldering all responsibilities

Panicking with every phone call

Imagining the worst

A fearful draining existence

Each return was like a rebirth

Each departure a death

She suffered, but did not drown

Unknown physical and emotional strength

Emerged along with foreign courage

Transforming her into

The steadfast Navy wife