The winning entry in our Fall Poetry Contest
on the theme of Halloween.
HALLOWEEN - 1950's style
We paw and rummage through the costume box -
accumulation of cast-off shoes and clothes.
My mother pulls out paper grocery bags
and makes us listen to the Halloween rules.
Our greedy hands atwitch with sugar futures
we know exactly what she has to say,
before a-ringing neighbors' chimes and doorbells
to Mister Stollmeiers's Pharmacy we go,
a UNICEF collection table where
the rows of half-pint boxes with a slot
assigned by name to lines of costumed children
who beg for pennies for a worthy cause.
We shake the box like make-shift castanet.
A dish of pennies alongside candy bowl
on tables next to doors that open wide
to Barnard five who know to stick together.
The bags and boxes heavy with their treasure.
A long walk back to drug store lies ahead.
At eight o'clock, the neighbors' porches dark,
we scuff along in shoes too small or big.