Green Soldier
by Daniel A. Olivas

    The green soldier
    could not stand.

    Imperfectly molded, a thin,
    sneaky wisp of plastic sprung
    from his base so that he teetered
    and tottered and fell if I tried to play
    with him.

    With a bit of a whine
    (if truth be told), I asked Mama to
    fix him because he was my favorite,
    better than all the other green
    soldiers in my shoe box.

    She put down the Los Angeles Times
    and whisked my soldier off to the
    bathroom.

    Mi hijo, stay here, she
    said. I’ll be right back.

    A moment later, I heard a
    scream and my four-year-old
    heart leapt.

    Papa ran, frantic and confused,
    from the bedroom to Mama.

    The razor blade, her tool to fix
    my soldier, had slipped and
    sliced, deep and red, into her
    thumb.

    But my soldier could
    now stand, proud and tall, and
    I played with him as my sister
    watched over me while Papa drove
    Mama to the emergency room.

    And my sister shook her head
    as my green soldier
    entered into a great,
    heroic battle on the
    turquoise, vinyl couch.






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