A Rhyme for Halloween

By Maurice Kilwein Guevara b. 1961
Tonight I light the candles of my eyes in the lee
And swing down this branch full of red leaves.
Yellow moon, skull and spine of the hare,
Arrow me to town on the neck of the air.

I hear the undertaker make love in the heather;
The candy maker, poor fellow, is under the weather.
Skunk, moose, raccoon, they go to the doors in threes
With a torch in their hands or pleas: "O, please . . ."

Baruch Spinoza and the butcher are drunk:
One is the tail and one is the trunk
Of a beast who dances in circles for beer
And doesn't think twice to learn how to steer.

Our clock is blind, our clock is dumb.
Its hands are broken, its fingers numb.
No time for the martyr of our fair town
Who wasn't a witch because she could drown.

Now the dogs of the cemetery are starting to bark
At the vision of her, bobbing up through the dark.
When she opens her mouth to gasp for air,
A moth flies out and lands in her hair.

The apples are thumping, winter is coming.
The lips of the pumpkin soon will be humming.
By the caw of the crow on the first of the year,
Something will die, something appear.

Maurice Kilwein Guevara, "A Rhyme for Halloween" from Poems of the River Spirit. Copyright © 1996 by Maurice Kilwein Guevara.  All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.  Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press, www.pitt.edu/~press.

Source: Poems of the River Spirit (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Maurice Kilwein Guevara b. 1961

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural

Holidays Halloween

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Maurice Kilwein Guevara

Biography

Poet, playwright, and actor Maurice Kilwein Guevara was born in Belencito, Colombia, and raised in Pittsburgh. He earned a BA in English and a BS in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, an MFA from Bowling Green State University, and a PhD in English and comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin. Kilwein Guevara’s poems often use overlapping voices and languages to explore the tensions and simultaneities . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Mythology & Folklore, Ghosts & the Supernatural

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.