Strewn amongst green crowns
below the balcony, horse chestnuts
are almost ripe here in August.
Our best conkers came from trees
around the church: they fell
and split on the asphalt path,
dark hearts in pulpy flesh,
like promises of future triumph.
There were tricks, yes, and theories:
soaking or baking them into hard skulls
to crack against each other –
and rapping our own knuckles
for our autumn playground sport.
Somewhere in a different part
of the wood, I was telling you this
as you tried to fathom the rules
of another improvised game.