A Last Salute for Capt. Duncan MacRae, USMC

After the gore and glory of Guadalcanal, this?
No quick combat death, but battling all the same
against the slow invasion of belligerent cells.
The wars he fought were terrible parables
of self-defense. He was my hero, Duncan MacRae.

When Uncle Dunc came home from war
he gave me a pocketful of shiny pennies
and I stayed up late, long after bedtime,
to listen to his tales and was too young
to hear things he could or would not say.

Later, when we were older vets, he gave me
other currency, worn coins of love he never
thought to hoard in pockets. After my father died,
he spent them lavishly and showed me how
to keep riches in spendthrift circulation.

Semper Fi. On his longest sick call
in the final foxhole of his bed, he kept
alive the lessons learned from tutor Death.
“Each day gone by since our first landing
wave hit that Pacific beach has been a gift.”

Forget funeral words, remember the ritual
as fog cover lifts and the sun shines
in blue skies on blue tunics, red chevrons,
a rose, a half-mast flag limp against a pole,
a folded triangle of stripes and stars, slow salutes.
The triple volley startles birds,
the ping of brass ejected loudly echoes,
Taps for Dunc is Reveille and Charge.