Almost Halloween

Leafless tree with white snow

Here in California it is October,
almost Halloween. To my Eastern eye
the colors are off: no orange, no rust.

Even the pumpkin patch of a seasonal entrepreneur
emits a yellow glow as hundreds of helpless gourds
bake in the relentless sun.

The grasses are dry, the heat intense
the nasty Santa Anas bluster and plot,
scrounging the arid earth for one small spark,
the chance to let fly.

And boom! the holiday arrives.
Rust and orange flames whip through tinder brush,
armies of invading ghosts whooshing and crackling
suck gobs of oxygen

a child’s game gone mad,
police cars and shiny red fire trucks blast
screaming sirens at bewildered people in midnight garb.

Nightmares break free
as small children and grandparents are
snatched out of warm beds, thrown into cars
and raced to safety wondering

is this the Day of the Dead
or some kind of trick
with a treat to follow?


Poem by Anita S. Pulier.

“Almost Halloween” was published in the anthology Psalms of Cinder & Silt by Solo Novo, 2019; in Anita S. Pulier’s book The Lovely Mundane, Finishing Line Press, 2013; and in Messenger Mountain News, April 5, 2019.


Anita S. Pulier is a graduate of New York University and New York Law School. After practicing law in New York and New Jersey, Anita served as a U. S. representative for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom at the United Nations. Anita’s poems have appeared online, in anthologies and in print journals. Her book The Butcher’s Diamond and her chapbooks Perfect Diet, The Lovely Mundane, and Sounds of Morning are published by Finishing Line Press. Anita’s website is at