Byzantine boys lobbed gourds
Filled with imagined Greek fire. The French,
Of course, dreamed of pomegranates.
In my time we played army
With June peaches, hard as stones
That split lips, swelled cheeks, burned
Sick purple bruises into thin skin.
My brother and I watched late-show war movies
In the dark, in my father’s lap.
In that flickering, tough kids from Brooklyn
Named Kowalski and Schwartz and Rizzo
Took their brothers to war, taught them
When to move, when to drop, how
To listen to the sky for choosers of the slain
As they swoop down on little brothers
Taking their own sweet time to ripen.