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.
Read the rest of “Razing Boys” at aaduna.org