A Halloween Poem by R. Nikolas Macioci

The three-story, pre-Civil-War house creaks.

It’s gray, unfinished clapboard sags. 

Spider webs wreath its windows. In each, 

a jack-o’-lantern flickers bright yellow. 

Tombstones in the mouth of the neighboring 

churchyard are moonlit teeth crooked as 

arthritic hands. A picket fence encompasses 

the house.  Its jagged spears impale low 

cumulus clouds that roll from a black sky. 

Wind whips walls of leaves against 

trick-or-treaters. 

A man’s silhouette, a bent branch, creeps 

from street to bush, lunges from house 

to house, staying only for seconds 

in side yards.  His bony, long fingers bear 

a scythe. His ebony cape rides wind.

He is not in costume. 

He is real as the everlasting. 

When he approaches the three-story house, 

his knock echoes to the cupola. 

The door no one wants to answer squeaks open. 

Only swirls of air greet him. He curses 

at those who evade, who last longer 

than he expected.  He turns away. 

The door slams shut, and he banishes

like sleep in the morning. 

The jack-o’-lanterns sneer.