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Jun 2014
Shiny black spit-shined shoes
on the walk
in the Memorial Gardens
hurt my feet
to look at their stiffness
and his swollen ankles
in them.
His worn and creased pants
too short, belt buckle aligned
with the button fold of his shirt.
He wore
an old faded USMC campaign hat
pulled down
almost to his white eyebrows.
Almost comically.
I pitied him
in the way we sometimes do
the old who mumble,
never knowing
just who they are talking to.
I heard Inchon mentioned,
and Chosin a time or two,
and every time he said Puller knew,
yeah, Chesty knew
I quit taking my lunch
with a book in the Garden
when he stopped coming around
and after I saw his picture
in the obituaries
with a description of how he won
his Silver Star and two Purple Hearts;
wishing now I had listened closer.
More’s the pity
I never spoke to him.

r ~ 6/27/14
Written by
r  NC
       ---, ---, ponny jo, ---, Helen Raymond and 55 others
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