The high-school girl had been trick-
or-treating, filling sharp Pacific Northwest
air with operatically lemony perfume.
Now, at our doorstep, she stood, bleeding.
"I was happy," she said, "and skipping when
I fell." We invited her in, explained how
hydrogen peroxide wouldn't sting her
cut hand. Her mother, costumed as
a classic witch, came to our doorstep.
"Did my daughter just come in your house?"
she asked. "Yes," we said. "Please come in."
"No," she said. "One stranger in your house
is enough." The bandaged daughter
joined her mother. "Happy," we called
to them as they walked away on
concrete into shadows, "Halloween."
Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom