The Year After Last – A Poem By Carol J Forrester #DVersePoets

Squirming at the pumpkin guts, your hands scooped into ladles, spooning palmfuls of seed and sludge. We took desert spoons to the wisp remains. Raked the slick walls smooth. Marked out the features with sharpies, a wide outline mouth, hollow eyes, skeleton nose. Sawed kitchen knives through thick sick, fingers squeaking tight on the handles.

This year, that kitchen is someone else’s, and the plants have not spat out anything other than flowers, their yellow blooms autumn mulched into the borders. There is no spilling through the doorway, hat and coats rain kissed into my open arms. No mud footprints on the tiles. Only seeds, sat on the shelf, kept dark and safe, for more hospitable times. My own roots deepening, on the promises pushed away till Spring.

Evening has a weight,
a sense of things settling down,
comfort in closing.

35 Comments

  1. There is a solemness and sadness that is evocative in this piece of prose. I really enjoyed these lines:

    “Squirming at the pumpkin guts, your hands scooped into ladles, spooning palmfuls of seed and sludge. We took desert spoons to the wisp remains.”

    It reminded me when the other week or so, I helped moderate a Zoom meeting for elementary school aged children. The teachers were teaching the kids how to carve pumpkins. It looked like fun!

  2. It does tend to bring memories of happy faces traipsing home with bags of candy, anxious to examine their booty. Nostalgic as the years have passed.

  3. The door bell rings. I open it to find a four year old dressed as a pirate, all alone. “How cute”, I said,” but where’s your buccaneers?” “Under my buckin’ hat” he replied.

  4. “…promises pushed away til Spring…,” What a great lead-in to that killer closing haiku. Well done, CF

    1. Thank you Sarah. It can be a bit icky, pumpkin guts don’t tend to bother me much though, unless it’s after they’ve got on clothes. Then they become an annoying stain to try and deal with.

  5. A perfect snapshot of Halloween preparations in the first paragraph, Carol. I especially love the horror of ‘Squirming at the pumpkin guts’, and the sound of ‘Raked the slick walls smooth’ and ‘fingers squeaking tight on the handles’. The contrast of the wistful second paragraph is stark and it made me sad. I felt a wrench at ‘There is no spilling through the doorway, hat and coats rain kissed into my open arms. No mud footprints on the tiles.’ I was, however, comforted by the haiku.

    1. The my job here is done *flounces off dramatically*. No, thank you very much Kim. I think Thursday’s sound prompt is still lurking with me a bit, I certainly pulled on elements from it in the first paragraph. I think that’s part of the usefulness of DVerse, in that the prompts don’t have to be self-contained, and carry forward into one another.

              1. It’s like Zoom. We get to see and hear each other. Bjorn and Sanaa are co-hosting and there will be a link. You can still read poems as usual.

  6. I like that image of the seeds waiting in the dark for better times. So much about tradition is in the mere fact of its repetition. We do the same in our relationships.

  7. There is such a melancholy feel to this (as well as the visceral elements of the pumpkin). Traditions lost and perhaps regained in other forms. Lovely haiku.

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