I have never quite lost the habit
of picking up conkers.
They lie there abandoned,
ripped from their womb.
newly fallen, vulnerable.
Crying out for life.
I need to feel them in my hand,
take them home,
hide them away.
I hold on to one last sliver
of innocence that refuses to die.
A reminder of far off seasons,
games of conquest, drilling holes,
twenty-niners and worn out shoelaces.
A wish that this perfect shining veneer
of innocence and hope,
this essence of tree,
might last forever
and that, just this once,
when I lift it from its hiding place
my childhood will still be there.