Back to the Future Halloween
by Jari Thymian

Disguising myself as the oldest daughter in the Thymian
family was not easy when the family car pulled into another
farm family’s yard on Halloween night. Most years, due to lack
of costume resources, I wore the default costume. Hobo. Easy.
Dirty old coats my dad wore to the barn or to the fields. A sweaty
and faded seed corn cap. A dry branch from a box elder tree already
bared by Minnesota cold and a red bandana tied at the end. Carried
on one shoulder. What I wanted to be was an elegant Japanese
woman in a kimono or a gypsy fortuneteller. After traveling a few
miles between farms on dark roads, I’d forget my costume downfall,
politely accept Mrs. Holme’s caramel apples or homemade popcorn
balls or Mrs. Storm’s warm cookies. Now in the simplified, wanderer’s
life I’ve claimed for myself, I’m happy to write haiku and tanka, read
about Basho walking on foot through Japan very much like a hobo.

the curve
of petal to wing . . .
doesn’t always travel
in just a straight line

SOURCE: Tanka portion first appeared in Cattails, “Pen this Painting,” Sept. 2015, with art by Cindy Lommasson.

PHOTO:  The author in an eagle costume for a fundraising run/walk event for the DC Booth Historic National Hatchery & Archives in Spearfish, South Dakota (September 2015). Photo by Pat Dufur.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was not compelled to write about any candy until the submission call for Halloween candy arrived from Silver Birch Press. A flood of memories poured out and delivered an epiphany in the last two lines that surprised me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jari Thymian’s poetry has appeared in publications including tinywords, Skylark, Cattails, KYSO Flash, The Furious Gazelle, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Bamboo Hut. She and her husband live in an RV and travel year-round while volunteering in national parks in the USA. This past summer, they volunteered for four months in Spearfish, South Dakota, at the DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives.