Lifestyle Literary Sketches

Poem From a Pumpkin

October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween 🎃👻🍂🍭

Poem From a Pumpkin by Ryan Knighton

Waiting in a closet café marking essays
about Dickinson & how much she seems to love
Death, or at least his civility. There should be so much more
than what’s said. My squiggles & notes
are hiccups when they should be perverse
tattoos & Dickinson should moan through fonts
offensive to an eye’s gluttony.
Across the street is a pumpkin stand
erected in honour of the season & I’ve never noticed orange
so much, so fat & charged. My father carved one every year
& we watched the blade hungrily
running slow & smooth, willing it to go otherwise
off the Magic Marker lines. There should be so much more
than the eyes, nose & mouth; there should be something other
than a lonely head decaying on the front porch for a week,
a euphemism lit once for witches & one-eyed pirates
not yet itchy to undress the other. At night, under sheets,
the ghosts feel their costumes changing & wonder
what they are to be next year.
& there is nothing satisfying or solid
about this red pen or its careful trail
& there should simply be so much more to reveal with a colour
so blatant. If I had more than this table setting, something
larger & sharper than a butter-knife,
I would put Dickinson back in Death’s magic carriage
& with the first stroke of midnight carve a nation of pumpkins,
manna spilling floods, secrets coursing through stilted streets,
& the rushing girth of Fall, embered leaves & pumpkin guts
would open every gaping hole to say awe.

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