Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee
A witch’s wind whipped up the parking lot. I watched kids cramming into cars to cart off to safe spaces to trunk or treat. ‘It isn’t safe here,’ they were saying with their perfect plastic pumpkins and slammed doors. ‘It isn’t safe here’ was all I heard hounded out of exhaust pipes.
One family was left behind. A dad and daughter, he’s forty, she’s four. He’s in his work rags and she’s a bright yellow. Map in hand, looking for the apartments marked ‘open’, he’s got his hands full. The wind gets under and over, slips grey fingers, tries to take away his map. It doesn’t want them to know where they’re going. When you cast a spell, you surrender yourself.
We’re under watch for tornadoes tonight. You can smell them, the dug-up, acid-wash. It’s 78 degrees and humid. A thin blue mist sticks to all the windows. Looking up, past the cloud, you catch catches of what you think are stars. But who can be sure of anything on a Halloween? A midnight? A too-warm October? Small black frogs have the path along the stream but won’t dive it. Whether it’s from knowing or not knowing what’s running in that water, who can say?
It isn’t safe here. And we all know it implicitly because we’re the ones who make this place. No trust, no knowing your neighbors, no stepping too far beyond your front doors, we’re all black frogs on the river bank, and who can blame us when the world is a few degrees warmer? I want to love you with my breath and sweat and hands but I’m too scared to feel you, to find what’s out there, to pick you from the dark.
Happy Halloween. I hope the kids come home with clear heads and full pumpkins. And to the Girl in Yellow, keep close watch on your father – he needs that bit of magic you haven’t lost yet, a ward against the night.
Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin
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Tis the night—the nightArthur Cleveland Coxe, Halloween: A Romaunt
Of the grave’s delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without,
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they—it is they!