Allhallows

And soon will be Allhallows. Day of the dead. Do some of you remember the sawdust on the butcher’s floor? Then some of you will come knocking at my door; some one knocking, alone — alone — alone.

And in my dark cupboard, it has a tiny shelf, my precious, as dark as dark can be, and there’s a dish of worms, all for me, me, me.

In the dark leafless orchard someone’s been digging, hammering, chopping, and sawing — watching and waiting there in the dark leafless orchard.

So I know a very, very old house. It’s got a crooked chimney pot where the dead depart in windless hordes. It’s got a narrow window that stares. It’s got a front door that ate a young family. It locked so tightly shut the skull knocker rapped nevermore … nevermore … nevermore.

There’s a back door. But the steps are worn and cracked. The light is dead but gives off an eerie glow. A thorny bush shakes and a scrawny light sways down by the fetid pond where a young boy once played.

Wait! Did you see the ratty lace? I swear it lifted. Not once, but thrice!

A wedding took place once on a lonely moor. A corpse bride, it is said. She lifted her veil and the hangman in another century smirked dumbly at the moon.

A very old woman lives in that house all alone, with the squeak of a mouse and the scream of the blood-red violin. She wears a spidery shawl and a nest of corpse-white hair. Low on his fours the black cat treads. Whiskers and claws, he crouches in the dark. Only now he’s deathly still. If he hears a sound, it’s a little sound — only a whisper or a sough or a creak in the boughs.

We will munch thistle, purple and spiked, and if we are lucky, be bony and gaunt, widowed and worn, faint and white. But it’s the trick or the treat that’s lured us out tonight.

Elf-light, bat-light, and small faces pressed to large panes, drizzling rain.

Who said, “crow pie”? The old King to the begging fool?

Alas, I can tell no more. I’ve found the cellar door.

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