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American Life In Poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-’06

I’m not alone in noticing how time accelerates as we grow older, and as the seasons grow ever more brief the holidays are gone in a wink. This poem by Nancy Price about Halloween catches a little of that. She’s an Iowan whose poems are so heartfelt, clear and useful that we could run them every week and none of you would complain.

Trick or Treat

The ghost is a torn sheet,

the skeleton’s suit came from a rack in a store

the witch is flameproof, but who knows

what dark streets they have taken here?

Brother Death, here is a candy bar.

For the lady wearing the hat from Salem: gum.

And a penny for each eye, Lost Soul.

They fade away with their heavy sacks.

Thanks! I yell just in time.

Thanks for another year!

Poem copyright 2007 by Nancy Price from her book of poetry “Two Voices and a Moon” (Malmarie Press, 2007), and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
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