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Every Columbus Day

the locals bring their chairs

and watch a trebuchet

launch pumpkins past a fort

of tin, as engineers

at play attempt to crush

the record for the sport

of hurling giant squash .

It must have been a shock

when such a monster threw

silent rounds of rock

into the market square

hundreds of years ago.

But the Big Moons they hurl

today could only scare

the unsuspecting squirrel.

These fruits are much too soft

to crack a citadel.

Some prove, while still aloft,

unequal to the stress

of flight and send a hail

that’s tragically organic.

They spread a pureed mess

but hardly cause much panic.

In spite of all the gore,

there’s an unexpected grace

in how the pumpkins soar

over treetops and descend

like basketballs from space.

And though all living things

must meet a sticky end,

at least they’ve had their flings.

Stephen Scaer is a poet in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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