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
He never did find his way home.”
The last time she told
was fifty years ago.
Now it is my turn to open
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
“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.