US Coast Guard
by Megan Willoughby

I remember the days of my past,
when the Sirens called for me and the
ocean never ended.
We threw cigarettes into the dark blue,
of what important men would decide.
To fill the days, I carved the words Manila, Kyushu, Ike Shima,
Hawaii, Subic Bay, Guam, Philippines,
and finally Okinawa onto my
military issued lighter.
I remember the days of my past,
where an entire world held its breath
for Japan
and the carved lighter was my
only good luck charm.

I remember the days of my past,
when I had a new house with hedges and trees,
and a wife and baby girl on the way
and Okinawa was just
a day in the past.
I watched the paint on the new house crack,
and the children eventually stopped clambering
over the trees. I lost my
old good luck charm
for eleven years, only to find it
in my sock drawer, the carvings still intact.
I left it there and convinced myself that
I needn't remember
those days.

Now my children's children are grown,
and the Sirens are calling me back
to the sea.
I remember the days of my past,
but the memories are old and faded, like the
leather armchair
where I pass the days.
I don't remember the pure waters of Ike Shima
or Subic Bay and Guam;
I don't remember carving these words into my
old good luck charm.
They are unimportant, only
a day of the past.


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