Johnny
“Momma told Johnny not to go downtown, Marine Corps Recruiter was hanging around.”
My son says he wants to be a Marine
like me.
A Marine like me.
You’re not going to hack it, I say.
You can’t even wake up at 6 AM.
There’s no urgency in your body.
You’re not ready.
Just go to college.
Be an engineer for NASA.
Your Grandma wants you to fight for Trump
and Jesus Christ.
It might settle you down and make a man out of you.
You’re not going to make it,
and I’ll be damned if you come home on a Greyhound bus.
Dishonorable Discharge forever.
I won’t let you down, he says.
Yes, you will.
This isn’t the same Corps. 
You can try to be an Airman like your bio dad.
There’s no way you’ll survive the Marines.
You won’t even make it past the scale at MEPS.
He pushes his portholes up the bridge of his nose.
His cold stare.
18 years ago,
I picked up the phone,
and heard my uncle-father say,
I heard you want to be jar head.
Mijo, you’re not going to make it.
You’ll never be able to hack it
I know you and your personality.
You won’t make it.
I know I can’t stop you.
Stop eating tacos and start working out.
Let me know how it goes.
Yes sir.
One day,
at 2 AM,
while we were sleeping,
Johnny left us,
for a girl,
and Zennial freedom,
whatever that is.

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