Halloween, 2012

by Faith R. Johnson

Pumpkin guts coat the sidewalk

With an orange film

And leaves,

Dry as old bones,

Stand upright in the cracks

Like small trees

From an airplane window

Before landing,

We walk in the street instead

Because my boots are brand new

And your sneakers are white

And, chances are,

We already have

Sugary fruit punch

That Sam spiked with bad vodka

Stuck to our soles alongside

Dog shit and

Chocolate bar shavings

So pumpkin guts will only make things


Than they already are

For you and I.


We walk with our arms

Straight down

And our hands hidden

Underneath too-long sleeves,

I feel your fingertips

Graze mine,


You’re dressed as the green M&M

And I am a skeleton,

You sniffle

And ask me where I wanna go

I shrug and you

Tell me that your dad’s house

Is empty

And that he went to his country home

In Upstate New York

To celebrate Halloween

With his new family,

I nod.


We lay on his futon

That’s folded out into

A lumpy guest bed

And you scroll through pictures

Of your half-sister

Dressed as a bumble-bee,

Sitting on the ground

Of a house that looks like it

Has really high ceilings,


You click your phone off

And tell me that your dad is an idiot

And you take off your jacket

And ask me if my hands are still cold,

They’re not,

But you hold them anyway

And place them on your chest

And climb on top of me

And close your eyes

While I try not to get my

Poorly done skeleton makeup

On your M&M shirt

That your mom made

With puffy paint

For the party tonight,


Your hips sway


Like a lake preparing

For a wild storm

And you press your mouth

Hard on my neck,

I tell you not to leave a mark

And you smile

And press harder

And I feel my heart drop six floors

And collide with my stomach

On the way down

Because we both know

That our throats will close up

And our eyes will fall out

If we walk out of your dad’s house

Bruised and


And someone confronts us

About what happened,


It’s not that I want you to stop

It’s that you have to

Because I don’t want to be crucified

On the football field

At the pep rally on Monday

And sometimes

When I think too long about being a dyke

I imagine my blood

Rushing through the ground floor locker bay

Like that one part in

The Shining.


The storm comes

In a heavy sheet

And leaves lazily

With cement

Glued to the inside

Of its shoes,

Leaving the air humid

As you put your jacket back on.


I gulp water

From the faucet in the bathroom

And inspect my neck

For evidence,

We fold the bed back up

Into a couch


And walk back outside,

Dodging pumpkin guts

As we walk home,


Three feet apart,


Our fingers curled into fists.

Faith R. Johnson is an emerging poet from Virginia. She is based in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where she lives in lesbian bliss with her partner, Indigo, and their many pets. Faith is a recent graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she studied Drama, and her work can be found in The Minetta Review. Faith's writings often reflect on Southern upbringing and LGBTQ identity.

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October 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle