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Children's Crusade

Stella Lee '23

A blue sky fractured, and the pellets imply that the privates are in command.

Lines come forth from the majestic pines I see from my window, streaming, streaming for they have no end, day or night. All they think is the fight, the glory, and I think they might actually believe it. As if life could be defined in a foam tube that morphes metal and glints red: blood red. Little boys won’t be young for long, they grow but I don’t. I watch from my window the little boys go to the clearing, and come back men, mice, cows. I chant my spells and bewitch as they twitch feigning death in the snow. See there? Is death not the devil’s playtoy? I played with them once when the foam bullets soared and brought the boys to men and never back again. They stayed floating high, boyish mockery transformed. They march into battle but I can’t come with, they say. I hold fear in foam bullets, see death in the daisies. Like flowers they bloom, but like flowers they’ll wilt. Perhaps if I had stilts, I’d have dodged the foam, I’d have saved the day. My window, their window, we look at each other but neither are free. I’ll tell you what you need to know about this breed, who need creed to see tomorrow. They hide their sameness behind shields of differences, but take off the paint and the truth remains; some may live like men but they all die like boys.

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