Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones

Success brought a fleeting fame
in that  game of pitched rocks

hit with a stick—that sugar rush of pride
in both the one who threw the rock
and the one who held the stick
with which it made contact.

Their wild shouts
before the shock of breaking glass
to this day form a wicked memory—
both boys off like a shot
down an elm-shadowed gravel street
even before a hand could part the curtains,
scattering shards of glass like summer snow.

Old man Sterner’s bellows:
“You boys!
I know who you are.
Your dads’re gonna whup yer hides,”
not yet overshadowing
the fleeting joy
of that solid whack
as the rock made contact.


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