A pin setter in high school days

he kicks the roundness of walnuts

dropped onto a street in a neighborhood

lush with autumn trees


At the top of the asphalt hill

the explosion of pins still in his head,

he picks walnuts off the pavement

bounces them in his hands,

bowls them between curbs


No strikes here, no second chances,

no spares or perfect games


Some balls bounce onto lawns,

others into sewer grates, gutters,

or stub against a pebble


After a final frame, back inside his house,

still dressed in windbreaker and scarf,

he squints through the living room window

at two squirrels with nuts between paws

poised for their turn at a perfect game