Toy Soldiers

November 21, 2017
By GraceRaber BRONZE, Paducah, Kentucky
GraceRaber BRONZE, Paducah, Kentucky
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I am unpacking boxes
from the far back shelves,
built with hardwood floors
and memories,
in the attic of my mind.

My old leather chest is filled with books
and musty pages
covered with the diamonds and jewels of my youth.
In one, the shattered pieces
of my grandmother’s favorite vase
are still engraved into the images,
along with simple, red,
little drops
of my blood:
the blood I never knew could leak out so fast.
If you turn a yellowed page,
you might read about
my old raggedy friends
that protected me in lines,
dressed up as soldiers--
an oncoming onslaught.
We took arms against our nightmares together,
but our bullets were only words,
the kind of words that don’t leave a mark
and instead float away into the darkness.
Flip to chapter two, part three.
I learned there that flashlights can’t always protect you from the scary monsters under your bed,
because sometimes, those monsters
are real.
If you grow tired of my old stories,
feel welcome to pick a newer one.
These pages aren’t as yellow,
but you can still smell the dust of old dreams
scattered across their text.
In there,
you might find a few pressed flowers:
roses, daisies, black eyed susans,
marigolds, poppies, and dandelions.
Some may even hold a glimmer of what they used to be,
those colors have long faded from my memories,
and instead the flowers are not passion red,
burnt orange, or vibrant yellow,
but dull, monotonous gray.
I dog-eared a page in this one,
that means this is a memory I’m quite fond of.
It’s the one where I pushed myself further
and harder
than I ever had before.
In the end I realized that for some people,
even your best is not enough.
Sometimes even sad books hold a smidgen of hope.
You have managed to find a book even older than the last!
This one’s pages are sticky
with the sweet honey of
This one smells of salty water,
cloudless sky,
and happy times.
Red shiny paint,
on brand new cars
with brand new wheels,
which are rolling across
hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors that had never seen
broken vases,
kindly soldiers,
or sad little girls
Put that one away--
there are far better stories out there to read.
Put away my old dusty books,
and stop searching through my hard wood shelves.
You are stirring up the dust of long forgotten dreams
and showing me pictures of things
that I no longer want to see.

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