Voices By Emily Burns


i don’t hear the voices
on the other side of the line yet

as a dispatch operator in training
i only see the calls in queue
mostly waiting for ems squads
to come and check all the vitals

sometimes they radio back
waiting for patient decision

sometimes i hear patient refused
against medical advice

there are trips to the hospital
and symptoms
and problems

sometimes a bright spot

little girl rescued from the flooded creek

patient has been delivered code 12
no emergency

there is a language
all our own

like we are trying to keep
the rest of the world
out of the conversation

codes and signals
that only we know

one day soon
the voices will be mine

and my voice will be delivered
to the sick and afflicted

maybe my voice will carry
them back to safety

By Emily Burns


Emily Burns is a student of history, spending much of her spare time sewing her family’s wardrobe of 18th and 19th century clothes. She volunteers at several historic sites around her home in central Kentucky; teaching about women’s skills of the past. Emily has been reading poetry since the age of twelve and began exploring voice and writing about ten years ago.

Emily holds a B.A. in English from the University of Kentucky and has published several books. Dalliance, poetry with images in words that describe the hills, the countryside, the flora and fauna and the heart of a Kentucky poet, which was published by Old Seventy Creek Press in 2010. She edited and published John Sternemann’s posthumous anthology Banging a Drum: words from sacred spaces in 2014.

Historic publications include, The Children’s Civil War Alphabet Book, an abcedarian book that includes photos and stories from her living history adventures with her own kids. Emily also published Our Receipts: a Civil War cookbook, which includes various recipes from the mid-19th century, including a variety of main dishes and dessert as used in Civil War reenactments. Tea and Manners, a compilation of articles describing fashion, etiquette and recipes for a 19th century tea. And finally, What a Lady Should Know about Health and Medicine in the mid-19th Century, which is a compilation of articles from period sources including recipes for common cures from the pre-Civil War era.

Leave a Reply