We carved our pumpkins

that dreadful night

we learned how long

we could expect you to exist

in your current and only form.

Inoperable was the word

we didn’t want to hear

and as we scooped out handfuls

of that stringy pulp,

we tried to focus on your joy

instead of that small round patch of hair

starting to grow back

above your ear.

You were looking forward

to Halloween,

which would be your last,

and the costume you chose a month ago

before we were sure

the countdown was on

happened to be a skeleton

with glowing bones

and a plastic skull mask

with blinking red eyes.

Only now does it seem

a sobering choice.

We lit the Jack-O-Lanterns

and roasted the seeds

and tried to carve happy smiles

into our own faces

because we weren’t sure yet

how to tell you

or if we should,

and I hated those pumpkins

for their bright grins

and removable lids

that could so easily be replaced

after we lifted out what

wasn’t needed,

and because I knew your light

wouldn’t fade so gracefully

when it was your turn to enter

that eternal night.



DeMaris Gaunt


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