Renaming the Roads

The unit we replaced had named the roads in our AO after porn stars. We enjoyed those first mission briefings probably a little too much: So we’ll turn on Ariel, the lieutenant would say, then go down on Jenna… We came to know every curve and blind spot and pothole of Jasmine, Paige, Britney and the rest. Months passed before the regimental commander caught wind of our beloved roads, renamed them for colors and created new map overlays. Toward the end of our tour, some of us got to remembering Hemi and that medic from Dragon Company who died when an IED took off the back of the Bradley clean, leaving the tracks intact, emptiness where the crew compartment had been. It was here, Bennett said, tapping the map, right here on Yellow. Chief cursed and walked off lighting a Miami. He came back after a while having dug up one of the old porn star-laden overlays, oriented it correctly over Bennett’s map and the argument was finally settled: It may be Yellow to yous, Chief said before sucking on his cigarette, but it’s Olivia to me.

photo 2-2

Brock Jones holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Wyoming and is currently a PhD candidate in the Literature and Creative Writing program at the University of Utah. He served three tours of duty in Iraq for the U.S. Army. Brock lives in Kaysville, Utah, with his wife and daughter.