Halloween in the Anthropocene, 2015

Darkness spills across the sky like an oil plume.
The moon reflects bleached coral. Tonight, let us
praise the sacrificed. Praise the souls of  black

boys, enslaved by supply chains, who carry
bags of cacao under West African heat. “Trick
or treat, smell my feet, give me something good

to eat,” sings a girl dressed as a Disney princess.
Let us praise the souls of   brown girls who sew
our clothes as fire unthreads sweatshops into

smoke and ash. “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me
something good,” whisper kids disguised as ninjas.
Tonight, let us praise the souls of Asian children

who manufacture toys and tech until gravity sharpens
their bodies enough to cut through suicide nets.
“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me,” shout boys

camouflaged as soldiers. Let us praise the souls
of  veterans who salute with their guns because
only triggers will pull God into their ruined

temples. “Trick or treat, smell my feet,” chant kids
masquerading as cowboys and Indians. Tonight,
let us praise the souls of native youth, whose eyes

are open-pit uranium mines, veins are poisoned
rivers, hearts are tar sands tailings ponds. “Trick
or treat,” says a boy dressed as the sun. Let us

praise El Niño, his growing pains, praise his mother,
Ocean, who is dying in a warming bath among dead
fish and refugee children. Let us praise our mothers

of  asthma, mothers of  cancer clusters, mothers of
miscarriage — pray for us — because our costumes
won’t hide the true cost of our greed. Praise our

mothers of  lost habitats, mothers of  fallout, mothers
of extinction — pray for us — because even tomorrow
will be haunted — leave them, leave us, leave — 
 

More Poems by Craig Santos Perez