Just because I smeared paint on my face
and collected the neighborhood chainsaws
and knocked on your door at 3am
and squeezed my joyful, loud nose to wake you
as the sun rose,
doesn’t mean I wanted to frighten you.
You know what’s frightening?
Realizing you’re the only one in the woods who heard
about the costume party.
Isn’t my face red?
Here’s how we’ll handle this:
I’ll come out at night and stand under your lampposts.
I’ll peer through all your open windows
I’ll smash the pumpkin while I stare at your security camera
with my dead, painted smile,
but—and here’s the catch—every night I’ll burn the non-fire-retardant wig,
the ridiculous pants, the oversized shoes
and I’ll wipe the makeup off my face
and then one day, when I run out of replacements in the house
and am left naked and ranting.
Well, then I’m done. In a few senses of the word.
Tim Duffy is a poet and scholar working in New York City. His poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Open Letters Monthly, Bop Dead City, The Indianola Review, and elsewhere.