It’s 0600 hrs.,

the sun remains hidden,

waiting under the horizon

to swallow the darkness.

thirteen hours into an endless thirty eight hour shift

I’m not sure if my day has begun

or my night has ended

In a forth floor apartment contractions start

Five children, all under five years old

wake to screams

and another is about to join them

Her water breaks as the sun rises

her door is locked

the baby is born

we force the door,

and wrap the child,

cut the cord

and tell the world

over the air

“time of birth 0615 hours.”

Hours later a grieving widow sits in a limo, crying

Her husband lies in his casket a few miles away.

The funeral must wait, another problem has risen

As a car fleeing the police

crashes into the funeral procession

She is injured, but refuses to go with us

You only bury you husband once she explains

So we bend the rules

and help her to the funeral home

and wheel her in

past the casket,

the preacher never stops

She sits on our stretcher

the cervical collar digging into her skin

And listens

As her husband is laid to rest.

It’s a little past noon

one has joined us, one has left

A mother holds the miracle in her arms

And a wife lets her husband go.

And Rescue 1 returns to service,

with fifteen hours to go

In a long, remarkable shift.