The smoke of the roasted pumpkin drifts down the street 
from jack-o-lanterns burning in the night.
A little ghost trips on his sheet and cries out.

A pint-sized pirate, an alien who lost his flashlight,
and a famous baseball player run from house to house.
Watchful parents on foot trail the trick-or-treaters.

My son's friend wanted to paint his face black
to complete his costume as Jackie Robinson.
My son's real skin would have restricted him

to the colored section just two generations ago.
My own face appears in the mask of a fake mother
to my hopped-up-on candy boy.

Yet I wear the worried look of any real mother
aware of ragged unlit pavement, tampered loot,
and the terrible whiteness of my own skin as we pass
a scarecrow hanging by his neck in a front yard.


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