A writer recalls his childhood Halloween

Poetry
John Roth


Pencil in a halo
Photo Credit: Bruce Guenter

Running down a sidewalk,
slick with wet autumn leaves,

the hard shine of porch lights
invite us to assail front doors

with our small bony fists
and expectant stares fixed

on the old lady holding a bowlful
of assorted goods. Her arm

shakes uncontrollably as she
struggles to close her frail hand.

A KitKat bar plops into my pillow
case, I sprint off towards the next

house in my ninja outfit, swinging
a floppy plastic sword around

while pretending to slay the shadows.
Later, mom will check the candy

for razorblades and drugs. I give her
the chalky Necco wafers, the rock-hard

Tootsie Rolls and gumdrops. And after
many years of trick-or-treating, I learned

that the best thing I ever received were
those sparkly pencils I’d later put to use.

pencil

John Roth is a writer whose poems have most recently appeared, or are still forthcoming, in The Orange Room Review, Bone Parade, Dead Snakes, and The Blue Hour, among a few others. His childhood love of grilled cheese has survived even to this day. Email: jjr42[at]zips.uakron.edu