B. Tucker Lacy
Jackson’s chaplain, B. Tucker Lacy, had a brother who owned
a house near the hospital and took Stonewall’s severed limb
to his brother’s family cemetery. –National Park Service
Great and mighty things, seek them not,
and I followed this instruction, keeping mine
eyes averted from the front lines. After all,
it was my job to provide succor—speaking
of things beyond the bloody grass—even
while ministering alongside a man whose
lips were never far from prayer, nor mind
from meditation—so much so—any
meager ministrations made on his behalf
were borne of rote not strict necessity.
Imagine my surprise then when my slumber
was broke one evening by hurtled out words.
I jumped up, put on pants and boots, and soon
gathered the catastrophe from the cool night air.
When led to the spot, the deed had already
been done. Tho no breath is more sacred than
another, I still ran from the room, hoping to
seize the brand from back out the fire, such
was our affection. Is this his, I cried, cradling
the thing in my arms as I rushed back in.
When the surgeon solemnly confirmed,
I knew I could not put it, indistinguishable,
back on the heap, the common pile, but
swaddled it tender as a firstborn babe,
mind busy planning a proper burial.
Never God’s favorite or even his spare,
I had arrived at that one moment. And I
stole up the hill with such a hope in my heart.