Plastic Halloween skeletons clamber up shingled roofs, clinging to chimneys. Others pose grinning at cars rolling past. To joke about one’s interior life suggests a reckless approach to mortality, doesn’t it? You laugh off the elaborate décor as well as my solemn remarks, none of which have ever taken root. Skeletons, tall swamp-creatures, flimsy vinyl ghosts cavort. A hearse drawn by the fossil of a pony smacks of Emily Dickinson domesticating death. Remember when we met her browsing field flowers in Amherst? A startling modern lookalike, this faux Emily smiled and dodged our gaze, her basket almost filled with Indian paintbrush, daisies, buttercups, and Joe-Pye weed. Now in mid-October, frost has toppled the brazen flowers, leaving dead stalks bronzed. You hate the overstatement of holidays. You’d evict them from the calendar. Plastic bones mock us despite their inorganic outlook, Flesh has never embraced them. We pass the display without waving to the proprietor basking amid his creation, his bulk concealing the one skeleton he would never dare expose.
About the Author William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Venus, Jupiter (2023). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals. About the Artist Alex Suarez is a senior Traditional Animation major at Columbia College Chicago with a passion for illustration and visual development. She currently works for the Columbia Chronicle as an illustrator and as an assistant at the college's archives. Alex is constantly striving to improve her work and loves creating, especially in a collaborative environment. In the future, she hopes that art will continue to be an integral part of her life.
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