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June 2006, vol 2 no 2

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Roger Jones

My Draft Card

Mr. Pankey, who sold insurance in town, was the local draft board official. Typing at his desk on a registration form, he asked me questions.

"Yes, sir", I said. "No, sir."

My hair just touched my collar. I wore the moccasins my parents had given me for Christmas.

Outside, the flag hung limp in languid May air. Clouds rumbled in the south. I got the card in the mail—thin, long, like a bus ticket. Typed on one side, "distinguishing characteristics: crooked little fingers."

Not long afterwards, I got my draft lottery number, 186—most likely I wouldn't be called.

A few months later, I watched released POWs step off planes, kiss the ground, their war over.

Today, the card tumbles into my hand from a book I haven't read for years. Crumbling, brown as a leaf.

polished black stone --
my name
not on the wall