Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash, used with permission
Enter our shell-shocked hero, all his battles won.
His glorious sorties over, his service finally done.
The stash he found cathartic? He stole it from his son.
Exulting in this final raid, he thought he’d have some fun.
He only took a bit of it. Each day he took some more.
He chewed the bag a little bit, as though to make a door.
He saw his son’s perplexity, searching through the house.
Had a rat made off with it? Could it have been a mouse?
He found his son’s new hiding places—where he had been loitering,
making use of thirty years of army reconnoitering.
The freezer in the garage, a tea tin in the drain.
What enemy made raids into such difficult terrain?
His son could believe sorties over mountaintop and ridge,
but how might a mouse invade a freezer or a fridge?
This mystery went unsolved for at least a decade more,
at which point it was finally told and became family lore.
How his father returned home, fatigued by years of war
and found relief from raiding his teenager’s secret store.
And how these retirement maneuvers against his puzzled son
helped salve the scars of battle with a little fun.