All Hallows Eve
by Joan Colby

Wild geese pasted upon a full moon
Or bats in an acoustic frenzy.
Owls broad-winged sensing
The tremble of prey.

Night of restless souls,
The suicides and the slain
In willow-the-wisp swales.

This country road
Hooded in darkness where
No masked figures knock
On farmhouse doors to demand
Sweetness or treachery. We wait
With apples and chocolate bars
Like the witch in the forest
Enticing children.

Oh, neighbors,
We’ve grown old in this place
With our cows, our sheep, our horses
While the wizardless clouds blot
The constellations. How we weaned
And castrated by the moon’s phases,
How we believed in the extraordinary.

Coyotes course the creekbeds
The young have gone away.
We drink our loneliness at tables
Set for one or two.
An old dog bangs its tail in sleep
Hunting the fragrant scent and we
See how it is to be forgotten,
A thing worse than malevolence.

We hunch along lanes suborned
By weeds. A pot of coffee turns bitter.
A loaf stales. Thinned to bone,
Graven as the letters of our names
Upon the purchased stone,
The world is too much for us.
Our ancient stories muttered
As if they mattered. The night shrugs
And the stars evaporate..

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