I don’t usually publish my work on this blog unless it’s been accepted somewhere else, but for this particular holiday, I felt inspired to post the following for all the parents of trick-or-treaters out there like me:
I could have worried that cold Hallows Eve
when we made it home from trick-or-treating
and there was that owl: unafraid, peering
from my dark study’s square window ledge.
I didn’t though. He was small, not at all
like those somber-faced great horned harbingers
of storybook lore – all death and wisdom –
more like a clay pot waiting for flowers,
an earthen vessel sheltered and shrouded
by warm bricks, mortar holding frosted glass.
Crouching like pranksters, slow-creeping as frightened field mice, we inched toward him.
Whispering, pointing, my two sons –
zombie and doctor – wanted him to fly.
He didn’t though. His nocturnal eyes turned
toward us, pleading, it seemed, to remain
in that safe alcove on the cusp between
thoughts and a threatening night.
We headed inside with our pumpkins full
of treasure from our neighborhood.
His silhouette stayed, backlit in yellow
shining streetlamp shades – a happy shadow
sighing, cooing: soothing us into
deepest contented-dream slumber where we
could not worry until All Saints’ morning.