A war burns at the edge of the map Boy lives on. On clear days, Boy can see smoke rising in the distance like an old god. Boy makes note of battles the smoke reminds him of: Gettysburg, Wounded Knee, Atlanta.
The Boys have enlisted. The Boys have started wearing boots and camouflage hunting clothes to school. In the hallways, they shoot each other with guns only they can see. They die bright, fantastic deaths every chance they get.
In English, D (one of The Boys) sprays the classroom with pretend bullets. A few of The Boys die bright, fantastic deaths. D doesn’t even think to shoot Boy. With his hands below his desk where no one can see, Boy presses his palm against a pretend bullet wound in his thigh to stop the bleeding. Boy thinks D is going to be a beautiful dead soldier one day.
Roxane Gay guest edited a sex-themed issue of Guernica. I’m so happy to have “Boy, A History” included along with a story by Roxane herself and a novel excerpt by Jennine Capó Crucet. Read it all here.
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