I spot the hills With yellow balls in autumn. I light the prairie cornfields Orange and tawny gold clusters And I am called pumpkins. On the last of October When dusk is fallen Children join hands And circle round me Singing ghost songs And love to the harvest moon; I am a jack-o'-lantern With terrible teeth And the children know I am fooling.
This poem is in the public domain.
Although it no longer has a body
to cover out of a sense of decorum,
the ghost must still consider fashion—
must clothe its invisibility in something
if it is to “appear” in public.
Some traditional specters favor
the simple shroud—
a toga of ectoplasm
swirling around them.
While others opt for lightweight versions
of once familiar tee shirts and jeans.
Perhaps being thought-forms,
they can change their outfits instantly—
or if they were loved ones,
it is we who clothe them
like dolls from memory.
Copyright © 2015 by Elaine Equi. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 6, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.