Pale Ghost

The sound draws me to the window, and through the blinds I peer out,

Down on the street below, a car has come to a stop.

Front bumper against the stone wall, but the traffic doesn’t halt,

A UPS driver get’s out, comes forward, steps timid with doubt.

 

From up above I wonder what could have caused this scene,

I pause for a moment, wondering if I should intervene.

The woman below fishes for her phone,

She’s calling someone, and now I know.

 

There’s more going than what I can see,

This isn’t some accident but a genuine emergency.

Scooping up keys to lock my tiny space,

I hurry from my corner knowing time is a race.

 

Crossing the street I see a group of six,

All cluttered around, motionless like twigs.

“Difficulty breathing,” I can hear them say,

I make it to the car and see what I may.

 

Reaching for his neck, I check for a pulse,

There’s none to be found in the pale ghost.

Adrenaline shoots through me and it’s time to act,

I grab hold of the man and pull him out fast.

 

I shout for someone standing to grab hold of his feet,

My hands under his shoulders, I give a great heave.

A voice on the phone is frantic, asking what I just said,

“There’s no God damn pulse,” as I settle the man’s head.

 

“Do you know CPR? I will guide you, alright?”

“Don’t stop, keep trying, until the ambulance arrives.”

The instructions come as I center on his chest,

And then I push the two inches as the instructions said.

 

Fast and vigorous, I try to save this man’s life,

But he doesn’t stir against the press of my might.

And then I feel it, giving way beyond my sight,

It vibrates through my hands, the ribs breaking outright.

 

A woman rushes up from the road, seeing our plight,

She’s an EMT, off duty, come to help in the fight.

Taking over in a moment where I stood aside,

She starts the compressions without missing a stride.

 

In a flash of light and noise the lifesavers came,

But in the end, they arrived much too late.

A hollowness crept inside me and overshadowed the day,

I stare at the faces who just stood in the way.

 

And that’ll haunt me forever, burns my chest with shame,

They all just stood around, wasting precious minutes to save.

Not one bothered to try until I came on scene,

But all were experts with advice, dignified and pristine.

 

That was the easy part, jumping into action,

The hardest comes after, wracked by guilt, the soul fractured.

In moments stilled I shook and trembled with shock,

My thoughts centered around the life that was lost.

 

The world would tilt, the vertigo hammering away,

My breathing thundered, frantic with dismay.

Fatigue washed over me, my mind racing in vain,

But in my hollow soul, I clutched to keep sane.

 

For a while, each time I had a moment to pause,

The reflections of those moments would come back to haunt.

Every time I closed my eyes, I could see that poor man’s face.

Even in my dreams, he’d come, denying peace or escape.

 

I’ve tried to talk about this, some helpful, others not,

Some think it’s a call for attention, as if I’d make that up!

Those closest to me have all shied away,

They don’t want to talk about it, the dialogue unpaid.

 

With the passing of time, the intensity has come to fade,

I’ve worked it out, alone, and in my own way.

The pale ghost still comes, every now and then,

And I can’t help but think what might’ve been.

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