Trick Retreat

Trick Retreat

By Judy Dykstra-Brown

 

At five o’clock they climb the hill to ring and ring my bell.
When I do not answer, the mob begins to swell.
Their cries of “We want Halloween!!” resound like cries from Hell.

My dogs begin a clamoring—and barks turn into growls.
The children’s only English words digress to angry howls
that prompt a shiver down my back––a loosening in my bowels.

I give in and seize the bowl and open up the gate.
The children swell around me, angry I’m so late.
They dig their hands into the bowl—in no mood for debate.

When I scream out “Take only one!” they begin to mind,
and they become more orderly and line up one behind
another as a snake of children starts to move and wind

From the bottom of the hill up to my front door
but when it seems I’ve served them all, there are always more:
one hundred, then two hundred, three hundred and then four!

And when I think the line perhaps is starting to get thin,
I finally discover that they got in line again
and came back to my doorway––where they’ve already been!

My candy store’s diminished, in fact there is no more
and they grow disorderly, waiting at my door
as I distribute all my fruit—right down to the last core.

Then I start giving canned goods—beans and corn and peas.
By the time my larder’s empty, they have brought me to my knees.
“Please, go home,” I beg them. “Leave my house now, please!”

But they have no pity. They are carrying off my plants.
I go into my closets and bring out my shirts and pants.
Still I hear requests for more—their demands and their rants.

I give them all my easy chairs, my pictures and my rugs,
my glasses and my dishes, my pots and pans and mugs.
From my refrigerator, I return with bowls and jugs.

Until my house is empty, they refuse to go away;
but finally I have no more, and I begin to pray
that they will soon release me from this relentless fray.

And then I see a ray of hope as across the street
my neighbor opens up his door and children’s footsteps beat
in a new direction—as they mount a swift retreat.

I hear my neighbor’s screams and cries as they shout for more.
Though I should go and help him, I’m yellow to the core
as I take the coward’s action and swiftly slam my door!!!

Mexico is lovely. It’s warm and lush and green.
I love its smiling people. I love its rich cuisine.
But there’s one drawback to living here that I have clearly seen.

I rue the day that Mexico discovered Halloween!

Ojo Del Lago
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