When War Broke Out

On the edge of the gully grew
three old apple trees,
stately and gnarled.
The remnants of some
grove or orchard,
at one time sweet and juicy,
now the size of golf balls
and sour as the day was long.
We climbed and ate none-the-less
Hours we spent
in those trees.
Hours we spent hiding
in the leaves.

In spring, the blossoms bent boughs
and filled the air
with their stately perfume.
Like snow after a
white blooms blanketed the canopy
and consumed creation
with autumnal nectar.
But it was in summer
we climbed.
It was during those long,
golden days
we perched with robins and jays
atop the greenery.

We were drawn to those lofty treetops,
all of the children
in the neighborhood.
Compelled to make it
than the day before,
higher than our friends.
Some were giants
while others were a tangled mess
of honeysuckle or lilacs.
We conquered them all,
hand over hand.
But those twisted apples
always beckoned.

Sometimes, in early fall, war broke out.
Ten kids within the trees;
ten in the adjacent field…
and the apples were
volley after volley.
Hours passed
as we played at combat.
No winners or losers,
just bruised children
and bruised apples.
In the end, mice and worms
would feast as we were called
home at dusk.

Photo by Jonathan Harrison

Andre Peltier

Andre Peltier is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches poetry, African American Literature, Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and Freshman Composition. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with his wife, kids, turtles, dog, and cat. In his free time, he obsesses about soccer and comic books.

Facebook: @andre.peltier.52
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