34/50 – Kisses in time
The trauma room clock, which reminds me of the clock above the blackboard in my fourth-grade classroom, tick-tocks lost time into the antiseptic air over the young soldier, prone on the gurney before me.
I gaze at his fine, dark face, his strong neck, his buzzed hair, the gold band on his finger, and the gristly mass of flesh that was once his belly.
His mother blew gentle raspberries there to make her baby boy laugh. His wife kissed him there in love and desire.
The exhausted trauma team is watching me, waiting.
“Time of death,” I say, “0914 GMT.”