Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween Poem

Happy Halloween!

Here is a Halloween poem I wrote a number of years ago.

Each Halloween
  colossal oaks
    lurk along streets, parks, hollows.
Stripped of their yellow, brown, and red veneer,
    they shiver
      in the October twilight.
They seethe among shadows,
    their twisted trunks grinning.

The squirrels
  usually scurrying and hoarding acorns
    have sought the safety of the pines.
The sparrows too
  have fled to the elms and maples.

A young boy - on a dare -
  takes the short cut
    through the darkest hollow.
He hears the branches shiver
  in the wind while he wipes
    the sweat from behind
      his mask.
He suddenly realizes
    it has been an Indian summer
      and there has been no breeze.

Each Halloween
   these colossal oaks -
       silenced since early settlers
        hacked and sawed
         them into submission -
    twitch in anticipation
      their thick roots
        reach out to trip
      their skeletal branches
        anxious to snatch
          a solitary
           trick or treater.

The boy shifts
   to the far edge of the path
    and clutches his bag of candy tight
      just in case.

     But all is silent.

     The movement must have been a trick of the twilight.

There is a tug
  and he turns to see a slender branch
    caught on the bottom of his bag.

It tugs again,

    and the bag splits
      and his candy spills
        onto the path.

Then the boy stumbles on a thick root
  that had not been there before.
He slips into the tall grass
   beneath the trees.
He hears the branches shaking
    as if a storm is brewing.

It must be his friends playing a trick.

Then each ankle is snatched,
   each wrist encircled.
Dried leaves and foul bark
   fill his gaping mouth.
Dust and splinters
   clutter his disbelieving eyes.

The branches tug
   more eager than ever

     and the boy splits
       and he is spilled
         into the trees.

Now a storm is brewing
  the oaks creak and moan
    as their bases bend and
    their branches snatch.

This is no trick at all.

  The trees have their treat.

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