Autumn Ammo

There’s autumn ammunition in our sleepy cities now
As baked-brown, nut-bound, downtown chestnuts
Set themselves to shed their cornucopia of conkers.
Eager hordes of campaigning children scrabble madly,
Garnering prickly piles of green-spiked unprimed shells
To split asunder, uncovering polished musketball-shaped threats
Which, with added artifice of vinegar and knotted string
Create a clash, sometimes a knuckle-knocking bloodbath contest,
As shiny carapaces slam together till they crack open,
In battle, not with bomb or bullet, but as fiercely fought.

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