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Halloween 1970

My parents steered me

through the chill night air

along the stony, red-dirt roads

in Roanoake, Texas—

weekending at the lake house.

Like the L.P. said, Pure County Magic:

chicken snakes and scorpions,

septic tanks and trash fires,

oil paints and playing cards.

I was a good little witch,

but I still wore a black, pointed hat.

Cold for the first time that fall,

I remember the porch lights glowing

in my dad’s square glasses when he told me

Halloween is when it finally cools off.

Somehow, lightning bugs still flashed in the tall grasses.

I asked if they could electrocute us.

My mother’s platinum hair gleamed

and her green eyes flickered.

My father chuckled, patted my head,

pleased with the question.

That night,

I believe,

I learned my place

in

this

world.

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