Rat Poison
by Maria Masington

1975 Halloween
working class

Hobos, gypsies, and Indians
with flashlights
and flowered pillow cases
Trick or treat

Mother dumps
candy onto a
Formica tabletop

Checks apples for
razor blades
and candy bars
for rat poison

Yet never
looks twice
at the haunted house
where the daughters
ran away and
the father offered
kindergarten girls cash
to don swimsuits
and wash his car

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