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C.W. Bigelow

Death of a Marine

Your dreams were taking

place in the Officer’s Club—

dress khaki and gin martinis

attended by all your men

from Guadalcanal to Korea—

“Ten-hut!” under the loping

ceiling fans cutting the summer night.

Joe and Dingy—

Marty and Ralph were all there,

even Davy who you lost at Savo Island.

He was toasting and laughing just like he used to—

slaps on the backs after the salutes

and even though it wasn’t necessary

it felt good. It really did.

Salutes are what you would have liked from me.

Respect and orders followed

without question.

Don’t dictators raise sons in their image,

Hussein, Gaddafi, and Kim Jong-il?

But our country stands for what

Davy died for—and because of that

respect draws salutes—

but who wants to salute their father?

You were on the ride out

and this was how your dreams

rolled through your cancer-addled brain

and at the end of each of these phone conversations

you professed your love for me—

drug fueled emotions—

and turnabout being fair play,

unbeknownst to you,

I stood and saluted.


After receiving his B.A. in English from Colorado State University, C.W. Bigelow lived in nine northern states before moving south to the Charlotte, NC area. His fiction and poetry have appeared most recently in Midway Journal, The Blue Mountain Review, Glassworks, Blood & Bourbon, The Courtship of Winds, Poetry Super Highway, Good Works Review, Backchannels, The Saturday Evening Post, New Plains Review, DASH, Blue Lake Review, Short Story Town, INK Babies, Flash Fiction Magazine and Hare’s Paw, with a story forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys.


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