B. Tucker Lacy

Jennifer Blair

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.

#poetry

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