‘October’ by Mary Beth Hines


Papery orange

Chinese lanterns blossom—blaze

above cracked asphalt,

silver-flecked charcoal

tar spread as far as we two

can see from Goose Hill.

Baby’s finger points—

please, to touch, sniff, tongue tender

jack-o’-lantern skin.

I brush a veined leaf,

seize and squeeze a stem—a head

lopped off. The child squeals.

Hush, I scold, peeling

back four clasped leaves to reveal

the poison berry.

About the contributor

Mary Beth Hines is a writer following a long career as a project manager. A Massachusetts native, and active participant in Boston-area workshops, her poetry has recently been published, or is forthcoming, in journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Gyroscope Review, the Lake, Literary Mama, and Sky Island Journal, among others.

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