I watch bald children pop pills into their mouths like M&Ms.
Their pale hands mold clay animals, video game controllers.
All the while, their mothers and fathers smile,
as if their hairless, overgrown babies are the most beautiful beings in the world
and not about to drop dead the moment the chemo quits its' function,
the moment the radiation starts to damage their softened skulls,
the moment their tiny, brittle bones break during movement.
They cry,
but only show it through gritty teeth stained yellow by coffee and cigarettes,
addictions abandoned when they had to question
whether or not their child was dying for their sins,
as if Cancer was a Roman cynic nailing children's palms to wooden stakes.
"Look at my baby girl," a red-haired woman whispers to a painting on the wall.
"She just turned twelve yesterday.
She could be a woman soon if God lets her live that long."
But there are no crosses at Hassenfeld:
no crucifixes beckoning their children
and no dead, starving, Jesus-like icons to pray to.
There are just their bald offspring:
dry tongues choking back a giggle in the moments when the pain subsides
while wondering which laugh will be their last.