"Dog Tags" by Matt Borczon

 

my 13

year old

son drops

my dog

tags on

the table

asking

if he

could have

them when

I tell

him they

are issued

and still

a part

of my

uniform

he is

unhappy

at the

realization

that this

means no

 

13 is

a funny

age he

is just

becoming

aware of

what it

meant when

I was

deployed

his class

sends care

packages

to soldiers

in the

country I

was in

and he

has heard

people

thank me

for my

service

 

so he

now thinks

it makes

me somebody

other than

the dad

who left

him for

almost

a year

without

an explanation

 

he is

just old

enough to

understand

I did

something

most dads

never do

but still

too young

for me

to explain

how much

it didn't

mean anything

at all.