My father. His brother.

My mother who pretended

nothing bad was happening.


The boys who beat me

because I couldn’t pretend

they had anything I needed.


The girls who shamed me

for not being straight,

or hated me for my courage.


When you know how monsters

and demons truly look and feel,

the last day of October is a treat.

[after an unattributed, circa 1930 photograph of Halloween costumes, seen at ]