Near Halloween

Poem by Ned Balbo

What if we hadn’t leapt aboard that night—

A flatbed truck, hay stuck to hair and clothes,

Head Ghoul raising her megaphone to blare

old campfire tales across the muddy roads

all murk and darkness?  What if, when I’d called

near Halloween, some carved gourd flickering,

you’d chosen to stay home? Masked farmers struck

by floodlights shot up, flailing, and pursued

us, fiends turned loose on cue, while friends from work

laughed at the spectacle, and you drew close—

amused, annoyed—scarred leather jacket drawn

across your shoulders as we rode, till sparks

hurled after us were raining all around—

More pyrotechnics wasted on the ground.