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July 2014, vol 10, no 2

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Carol Judkins

9 August 1942

Near Savo Island. Japanese gunboats torpedoed the USS Quincy. Survivors hung on to debris, hoping not to attract sharks. Treading a fuel-slicked ocean, they watched their burning ship and buddies go under. These young sailors, some not yet out of their teens, listened for enemy planes while waiting that long, dark night to be rescued.

Every year on August ninth he staggered home just before daybreak.

on his leg
this relic of memory
bone deep
the unhealed scar
wrought by a blazing sea