The open door on Halloween night

My grandmother always left

her back door open

on Halloween night, no matter

if the moon glowed golden

or the stars were slow to creep out

or the snow came swirling in.

“It’s for Bailey, the baker’s boy,”

she’d explain, even when no one asked.

“We went to the woods to play

with the ghosts, way back

when the world wasn’t constantly alight

and screaming.

He never did find his way home.”

The last time she told

that story

was fifty years ago.

Now it is my turn to open

the door

as my grandchildren squabble over

Halloween candy and their parents

referee them amusedly.

The night is calm and deepening dark.

I close the door, feeling like the

senile fool my neighbors

who live in the houses

that weren’t there twenty years ago

no doubt think

I am.

“Here we are, Bailey,” a tiny voice, reminiscent

of grandma’s drawl, whispers.

“Home at last.”

“There’s leftover candy

in the punch bowl,” I say

to no one and smile

at my silliness.

Perhaps I am going senile

after all, though that doesn’t explain

the heap of wrappers

cluttering the carpet

come morning’s light.


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