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    Razing Boys



    They come like a murder of crows.  Six still small boys toting toy guns shaped like semi-automatics.  A troop of tousled hair and soccer shorts, they descend on the playground with aggression too large for their years.  My son, startled from his sandbox world, drops his tiny shovel.  He gazes openly on the newcomers, soaks in their shouts of I shot you, I’ve got more bullets, you’re dead.  A mother walks across the empty concrete wading pool, her toddler son’s wrist gripped tightly in her hand.  Her eyes dart left then right at the circling boys who rend the air with war cries. The mother touches her son’s head, almost in benediction, then tugs him forward by the sleeve of his miniature bomber jacket.  The gunslingers growl and aim.  They shriek and shoot.  Bam! I got you, they laugh.  My son laughs along with them, his face bursting into dimples and milk teeth.  Still smiling he returns to the sand.  The tiny shovel lies abandoned at his feet, so he begins to dig a hole with his sneakered toe.  The sand is wet and pebbled, the color of bone.  Not unlike the sand of that distant Turkish shore where Aylan Kurdi lay face down, palms up and belly resting in the sand.  Lifeless, but dressed for a new day.  His mother had taken care to get him ready that morning.  She had wrestled to keep his three-year-old body still enough, so she could clothe him in a red shirt, blue shorts, and black velcro sneakers.  The red shirt she chose was a playful one.  It had across its front a cartoon astronaut and a rocket ship with English words that read “Mystery Space Riders!”  Now Aylan and his astronaut lie face down in the sand.  He is still, in his red shirt, blue shorts and black velcro sneakers.  The tide laps at his freshly-cut hair.  Aylan’s lips are forever sealed but his sneakers, his waterlogged sneakers are eloquent.  They are black and yellow both dark and light with crisscrossed treads for traction.  These are sturdy sneakers.  Sneakers meant to dig holes in sand.  Sneakers eager to tread on play ground.  Sneakers capsized and washed ashore.  A spray of sand flies as my son kicks his abandoned shovel away.  Here on the playground the practice war has ended.  The mother has crossed the empty wading pool.  She removes her toddler’s bomber jacket.  My son digs a larger hole with his sneakered toe.  The shooting boys pound fists, disperse, and head home to hot meals around fine kitchen tables.  They have learned to walk with elbows crooked and toy guns pointed toward the sky. 



    About The Author

    Jen S bio

    Jen Soriano

    Jen Soriano is a Filipina-American mother, writer, singer, and social justice communications strategist originally from Chicago. Pieces of her soul live in the California Bay Area, Puerto Rico and the Philippines but she currently resides in Seattle with her husband and two year old son. “Razing Boys” is one of her first published works. She also has two essays forthcoming in Blue Lyra Review and TAYO Literary Magazine. The undercurrent that drives Jen’s creative work is captured (or shall we say freed) by the South African proverb: until lions write books, history will always glorify the hunter. Jen is currently an MFA candidate in fiction and non-fiction at the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. She occasionally blogs at jensoriano.net and frequently rants on twitter @lionswrite.net