By David Colby
Floating above the mantelpiece
There is a photograph
Six young men and women
Wearing red berets
Left to Right
Carloz Alvarez: KIA, a mine blew chunks into his belly under Shi-Armstrong and he died clutching
Lee Sanders: KIA, Loonie sniper shot him over the horizon. He was checking his air.
Trace Yue: KIA, her suit ruptured, shrapnel. Never figured which side threw it.
Gordon Nara: KIA, bayonet…really? In this day and age?
Penelope N’paya: MIA, went to recon, right when the Loonies dropped the nuke outside of New Mubai.
(only found her shadow, not a confirmation)
They’re all smiling, standing beside the shuttle that took them there.
To the left of Gordon
Drusilla Xao: Star of Valor for gallantry under fire, three Purple Hearts, CAASMC Long Service Medal, Distinguished S3TA Service Medallion, Lunar Campaign Medallion, Civil Service Award.
She’s smiling in the photograph. Under her is signed:
永遠忠誠 Semper Fidelis Always Faithful–Unit 201, 12/31/2069
Mom notices me looking
reaches out with a hand marked by three purple hearts
Switches off the ‘graph
And goes back to her tea