Halloween Night

This pen in my hand
feels like a rusty scalpel,
heavy as a stone sword,
and I’m a bit woozy on nostalgia
thinking about that night
the moon let us down so terrifically,
bloody shadows staining the road forever.

Still I sign anyway, quickly,
remembering Ruby’s ruby-red slippers,
the ones with the flaky Chiclet chips,
her dressed as Dorothy for Halloween,
clicking the heels of her shoes three times,
saying, “There’s no place like home.
There’s no place like home,”
before we headed out for the evening.

I had thought—
a car purchase,
a wedding dress and a honeymoon cruise—
any of these would get my signature
instead of a death certificate.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” the man of authority says again,
skirting my eyes as he attempt to
take the forms from my fingers.
“Mr. _____,” the man of authority says,
soft and frail,
while I hold tight to the edge of a page,
a toddler in a tantrum,
him not knowing I’m afraid to let go
the way I had released
Ruby’s hand that Halloween night just day ago.

“Mr. _____, please,” he says.
“Please,” he says, “don’t you think this has been
difficult enough already?”

Len Kuntz is an writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection, The Dark Sunshine, from Connotation Press. Additionally, he’s an editor at the online lit zine Literary Orphans. You can find him at http://lenkuntz.blogspot.com.

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1 Response to Halloween Night

  1. jafarley says:

    Really loved those first few lines. It’s a wonder that sometimes when we have the most to say the words never form right and can’t escape our heart. The pen does feel awkward, like it won’t work no matter how much we cognitively know we’ve used it to create great works before. Sometimes the most daunting task is staring at an empty page, knowing there’s not enough lines to fill up what we have to say, yet the words remain trapped inside and can’t be transferred no matter how hard we try. It is like a sky that is pitch black, thunder roaring, but without rain. The rawest emotions are sometimes the hardest to put into words..sometimes it just takes time before those emotions are ready to write their story.

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