Happy Halloguin

I belonged in a family that semi-celebrated Halloween
Nana said we'd go to hell,
it's the devil's festival
But my pastor uncle, 
took us to almost every house
in our small town, 
twice
always starting 
on the good side of town,
the ones that gave out mini-candy bars
and never stopping at Nana's
Rule follower me
reminded him we'd already been
to this house or that
"They don't remember, 
go get you some more candy!"

Once, my mom took us trick-or-treating-
one round, no fancy houses, quick-
there are other things to do
"There's candy by the door," 
she instructs Dad.
But it's Monday Night Football 
and the Dallas Cowboys are playing
We return home with our bags
all the lights out
darkness
Where is he?
In the bedroom, 
under the bed
a portable black and white TV 
flickers
mini-figured gray football men, tackling
Dad,  
a pillow propped 
under his chest
lying on his stomach, 
mesmerized.
A bowl full of
black and orange 
paper wrapped
peanut butter nougat candy
untouched,
waiting for us to split it.
"I didn't want anyone to interrupt me."
We give him some of our Snickers, 
his favorite.

I became the family 
makeup artist 
the year all the younger cousins 
were clowns,
costumes cheap
to assemble
and there was enough face paint 
to go around 
transforming my little brother
into a skull
Charged with getting everyone 
out the door, 
I don't remember them 
paying me 
with candy.

I got married 
one Halloween
my engagement ring 
cost a dollar
A white fuzzy pipe cleaner 
looped into a circle
a rock salt crystal gem
hot glued 
to the top
"I do." 
"I do."
And that was that,
teen-aged Halloween carnival vows
without the promise of forever
Tuesday, October 26, 2021

3 thoughts on “Happy Halloguin

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