How to Save a Life

by Rick Campbell

I don’t remember much of it.
My father must have been at work.
Early afternoon, by the light, and across the street, Ivan,
our neighbor, was home. He worked
three to eleven. I say my little brother went
to get him and I stayed with her. Ivan
or Celie or someone said keep her walking. Don’t
let her sleep. How did they know?
Who tried to overdose on pills in their world?
Maybe they saw it on TV. 1965. Drama. I
walked her round and round the living room
until my father and the police came.
I remember feeling that everyone was watching, that
my father was not surprised, but Sammy, sad.
Keep her walking, that’s all I really know.
When they take her away, don’t forget her. Love
her anyway. Don’t think about why.

RICK CAMPBELL is a poet and essayist living on Alligator Point, Florida. He is the author of six poetry collections, including Gunshot, Peacock, Dog (Madville Publishing, 2019). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including The Georgia ReviewFourth RiverKestrel, and New Madrid. He teaches in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.