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Monday, May 30, 2016


by William Cullen Jr.

Relative places flowers at one of the tombstones in the Los Angeles National Cemetery (then the Sawtelle Veterans Cemetery), where flags were posted for Memorial Day, 1940. This photo was published in the May 30, 1977 Los Angeles Times.

We walk down the rows
in a Civil War cemetery
like we were inspecting the troops
looking for one particularly
outstanding soldier
to pin a medal onto
instead of laying down flowers
in the pouring rain
on a great-great uncle whose name
escapes both us and his headstone.

William Cullen Jr. is a veteran and works at a social services non-profit in Brooklyn, NY. His poetry has appeared in *82Review, Canary, Gulf Stream, Right Hand Pointing, Spillway and Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics.