Walter Mencken 10:05 a.m., April 30
At the Vietnam Memorial
- The last time I saw the name Paul Castle
- it was printed in gold on the wall
- above the showers in the boys’
- locker room, next to the school
- record for the mile. I don’t recall
- his time, but the year was 1968
- and I can look across the infield
- of memory to see him on the track,
- legs flashing, body bending slightly
- beyond the pack of runners at his back.
- He couldn’t spare a word for me,
- two years younger, junior varsity,
- and hardly worth the waste of breath.
- He owned the hallways, a cool blonde
- at his side, and aimed his interests
- further down the line than we could guess.
- Now, reading the name again,
- I see us standing in the showers,
- naked kids beneath his larger,
- comprehensive force — the ones who trail
- obscurely, in the wake of the swift,
- like my shadow on this gleaming wall.
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