Trick

by Houghton Piker

FOR an October Saturday I am up early in the kitchen
attempting Martha Stewart's recipe for pumpkie pie
not especially difficult but still it is Martha Stewart
The cheese pumpkins roast in the oven at 350 degrees

I have a sweater on yet no pants
For all the costumes I've seen so far, the Spider-Man,
the warted witch, the pale-faced vampires,
I smell little fear in the air, for ghouls

Hallowe'en is told to be a liminal time of year
when the dead can contact the living
as the cheese pumpkins will tonight at dinner
with a dollop of freshly whipped cream

I mix the ground ginger and cinnamon, get out the cloves
Cloves scare people, almost as much as nutmeg
I grate them on the microplane and draw blood
Fucking microplane

If a boy dressed as George Bush not as satire
but as homage, that would be scary
If another dressed as a terrorist
I wouldn't be surprised

Martha says to take the pies out before
they are done cooking otherwise
the surface will bloat and then crack
and your presentation is shot to hell

I set the hot pies by the open window for cooling
it is chilly and the hairs on my legs raise
I light the day's fourth cigarette
and in the yard I spy a miniature hurricane of fallen leaves

I imagine it is an infant poltergeist
a sleepless soul inured to rocking
remembering in its dervish
the sweet tastes of autumn

That night however my nightmares are of Martha
in a business jacket and prison pants
and she is excoriating me with a pitchfork
because my crust was ready-made.

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