POETRY: In Memory of Lt. Duncan Sleigh

Share this with your friends

2LT, 39W 30
Numbered rank, panel, row
Google it and you’ll find
a dry report of casualties

At Quang Nam
Mike Company
3/7 Marines
lost eight men on 6 Nov 1968
in an engagement south of Hill 55
about 8 kilometers northeast of the Liberty Bridge

23 years old
46 years ago
the time that’s passed is double your age
You’ve missed a lot since then

You wouldn’t know what I meant if I said
the only photo I could find
of you with your mother
is awfully low-res to post online
at 500 pixels wide

The old high school where you went is gone
turned into condos or something
The King’s Rook has closed and
now the people get their coffee
at Starbucks

The houses that were new then are old now
if you’d lived long enough to marry
your grandchildren might live there

There is a square named for you
in the little town where we both grew up
people remember you there

My mother took me to the cemetery once
on Memorial Day
I was 7
she said they’d sent you home in a box
she was crying and she said
“This is a hard day for me.”

In memory of Duncan Balfour Sleigh, 1945-1968