How to Carry Someone Who is Unconscious – a poem

Why would you want to do that?
Is he lying in the street or halfway in a door?
Do you hear gunshots?  Do you see blood?
Can you detect a breath
tickle the fine hairs of your ear?
Did you see him fall?  Are the two of you alone?
Don’t take forever with it – think!
It’s okay to drag him, if you can.

But here’s how:
Roll her over on her back
then reach in at her head and push her up
to sitting, be careful of her neck.
Don’t pull her arms, don’t tug, remember your back.

Maybe you end up on your knees
so your whole front is like a seat back
for this insensate person.  I mean,
you have to understand, this is an intimate maneuver.
But you’re only just beginning, so.

Slide your arms under his and clasp your wrists at his chest.
Make your arms a belt around him, like a big old bear hug.
Then if you can do this, here’s a place where you need to be sure,
get up on one knee, then you and this person
you are hugging tighter than you can believe
use your legs not your back your bodies really sandwiched
you both yes that’s right come to a stand.

This is no joke.
Because now you’re committed. 
Now you could both go down.
It’s like a dance, a kind of shuffle
where you squeeze her even tighter
while you shift your position
sidle around to her side somehow
you really have to practice

and her sleeping arm you need to duck under
so it’s hanging out there zombie-like across your shoulder
but what you’re going for is to block her knees with yours
shove them up straight and locked
so for the first time you see how tall she is
in this high and doddering place
where you’ve arranged yourselves.

But that’s not even all.  Are you ready?  Get ready.
Because now comes the switch.  No, seriously,
this is how you do it.
It’s the weak link in the procedure.
You have to quit the bear hug
while you ease around to his front
and grab his floppy wrists
(it helps to lean forward and crouch
so he sort of drapes across your back)
and then here we go, alright, this is it.

Get in right under her armpits
pull her arms over your shoulders like a shawl,
bend those knees, stick out your butt
(her head may bump on yours)
and take a tentative step. 

You’ve got him.
You can shuffle off to what you hope is safety,
to help, to some kind of better place. 
Maybe his legs are long and drag behind,
toes drawing lines from there to here
if you’re in sand.  People may see you
and not know what to think.

But let me say this.  There is a rule
that we all follow and will hold you to.
Oh yes we will.  If she is unconscious and you touch her.
If you dare to move her sleeping form.
Until you get her to safety or help,
do this whole thing we just rehearsed
entirely in reverse,
until that moment when you step back,
unkink your knees and spine,
wipe at your shirt and bend gasping at her side

until then — because you touched her —
you own what happens.  You are the responsible
party.  The Good Samaritan. 
In ways you must decide to bear
that is your burden too.

So this.  It helps to be ready, to have a clue.
It’s not for everybody.  I get that.
There are these risks involved
if you dare to cross that line,
if you stop and bend to touch.

You would hope if it was you. 
But I’m not here to judge.  Which is
why we practice.  So here.
A little rude but I call it
try before you buy. 

5 thoughts on “How to Carry Someone Who is Unconscious – a poem

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s