Kathleen Aguero: All Saints’ Eve, 2019

Pots of bright chrysanthemums and asters,
ornamental gourds, sit on front steps.
Inflated witches, plastic skeletons
hang from trees. As the season changes
in a blaze of merriment, mock terror,
I remember you, children caged
at the border of my country.

When my oldest grandson kicks his soccer ball
down the wide cul de sac, and it rolls on the lawn
of a neighbor who smiles indulgently, I picture
your neighbors, guards, patrolling with guns.
When the mischievous toddler sneaks macaroni
from his brother’s plate and, grinning, pops it
into his mouth, I imagine your deep hunger,
the delicate bones of your body straining
against your skin. When the baby cries
for mama and she rushes to her and lifting her
kisses her cheek, I hear your mothers
cry for you, arms exhausted from emptiness,
and wonder if your eyes are too dry for tears.

With the children of my blood, I hollow
a pumpkin, and together we pull the wet seeds
and stringy membranes out with our hands
now covered with its gore. We place a lighted candle
inside it so the grimace we have carved
flickers with menace.  You waver, pale shades
at the edge of a crowd of costumed children calling
Trick or Treat. I try to bring you into focus
as your image trembles like that pumpkin.
Does it matter that I know you are there? And tomorrow—
Dia de Todos los Santos, Dia de los Angelitos.

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