War Games

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Shane was the best of our class
in the lunch and recess wars
ghost gum sticks as guns
and pine cone grenades
run between trees
and aim
“got you, Shane!”

from cricket nets
and monkey bars
Shane would hurl himself
a dead weight to the dirt
sometimes an agonized scream
as a flourish

sometimes smuggle cochineal bottles
to cake his face in blood
one time pissed his pants
in our makeshift trench
between the footy field and France
“it’s what they would have done”
he said

Shane was the best
killed daily and resurrected
ten times, more or less
never dodged a bullet

never won the game

~ Brendan Bonsack

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