At the Community Center
We gathered together
At the appointed date and time.
The workings and bounds were explained,
Sides matched as evenly we could.
The sky was steel grey, occasionally loosing rain
This game was going to be good.
Two opposing teams of six,
Kids aged ten to thirty,
Placed their flags, in plain(ish) sight,
On two opposing hills.
The line was the road, gravel winding down between,
Bordered in the center by ditches and old fencing
On one side some trees, low shrubs, vines, and weeds
Threy, and I, and our band had Horse Hill, and
They, the enemy, from Orchard Hill to the gravel lot.
The game began. Slowly at first, testing defenses. And then
What strategy! What chaos! Feints and distractions!
What speed! What courage! Captures and rescues!
I recall, I was crouched
In a ditch, on enemy soil.
Scouting. An opening.
A sagging fence, grown over with grass.
I stood. I sprinted. I sprang!
And was flung back with all the force that had carried me forward.
Four feet at least, I flew through the air!
I didn’t feel the landing, I sat and I stared
In astonishment, in puzzlement. I was close to despair!
Where was logic? where was physics? How could this be!
What alien force changed my trajectory?
But I stared and I squinted and at last I saw.
Barbed wire unrusted, grey steel on grey sky.
To remind me of that terror, that wonder, that awe.
I still bear a scar on my inner right thigh.
At the time I felt no pain, saw no blood, played on.
But I will never forget the feeling I felt that time
When because of a fence, the world made no sense,
And for a brief instant, confounded my mind.