Rhina P. Espaillat
Trick or Treat
I know you're in there, with your ear-to-ear-
wide laugh at our expense framed by the black
hood of that cape, though you're just passing through
this time, making the rounds, closing the year
with droll reminders, candy in your sack
like tribute to a king. But this is you,
I know; in jovial mood, but genuine: who
else, tricked out by pumpkin-light, a pack
of clownish, noisy beasts all scaled and furred
behind your shouldered scythe, has such a knack
for banter and suspense, for rousing fear
that grips the throat, for making fear absurd?
Yes: in that childish pleading threat, I heard,
I heard, I know it's you, I know you're here.
--from Three for the Bones
Rhina P. Espaillat, Her Place in These Designs, Truman State
University Press, 2005.