Skully (Sidewalk Game in New York City)


Bam! Bam! Boom!— you're a goner
shouts Skully player to others
in the courtyard of Glen Oaks
where teenagers gathered to play.

This sidewalk game occupied us
the whole summer as we knelt on
our knees shooting bottlecaps from
Square 1 to 9 before darkness sets in.

Went to stores with soda machines
to collect our bottlecaps— Coke,
Pepsi, White Rock, Canada Dry,
Budweiser and Heineken Beer.

We took great pride in our bottlecaps
like samurai with shining swords—
they must have no dents or scratches,
perfectly smooth and immaculate.

Flick your finger with a light touch,
going from one Square to the next—
Don't overshoot to the grassland
or land in those Skully trapezoids

to start game all over again.
Be friends with other players
so they won't blast you away.
Keep focus and you will win.

    — Peter Y. Chou
        Mountain View, 3-13-2021