Monday, January 07, 2008

569. Halloween - Ross Talarico

for Joseph

My son, a mere three,
Did not hesitate
When I asked if I should carve
A happy face or sad
In the hallowed pumpkin.
Sad, he said.

The knife glistened
In the warm, leafy, October air,
And slid easily
Through the dry pulp
Until the down-turned mouth
Bought smiles, like masks,
To our faces.

This is our costume,
The happiness we don
Through the haunted doorways
Of the bewitched dark.
Too easily his bag fills with treats,
Small, sweet sacrifices
To appease the other god
Who roams about, that ghost writer
Of window verse.

Under the soft, smokey haze
Of the streetlamp
Witches, skeletons, Spiderman
And Hulks
Dance their way
Into the fragrant transcendence
Of burning leaves, hearts,
Ashes swirling
Under the stars . . .

On our porch, awaiting us,
The sad pumpkin
Glows in a last flicker of light.
You said sad
Because you knew that we would
Come back to this,
The costume stripped
From your shoulders,
The frail human yawn,
The kiss and the terrible privacy
Of your sleep;

Because I knew too
In the hollow of my gutted chest
That the joy between us
Is equal to
Its inadequate echo in the world,
That when the pumpkin, like so many moons,
Tumbles through the universe,
The only consideration will be
The grace and curve
Of our carvings;
And those expressionistic slivers,
Smile or frown, will be nothing
But the artful opening
Through which our silence rises
And is sung.

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