Every day is Halloween. Every day trees’ last hints of dress are cast across front lawn, sidewalk, under the Murphys’ ’56 Fairlane. Each day I close my eyes and see less of my son’s face. There is only the skull with top hat he took from his older brother’s closet and wore three Octobers. White satin tablecloth I cut up, tied around his neck so the mask’s black eyes, dark gaps between its teeth, came at me from some place like snow, but colder.

Every day is another chance to imagine watching him stop his car under a maple, stand on the tracks as a locomotive pulls the bend. I don’t know what will last longer than my memory of being led to the crossing gates, warning lights flashing, tinny clang ticking like a heart, and every day after coming in red leaves that settle over him, clothed in white.

Michael Levan received his MFA in poetry from Western Michigan University and PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee. Currently he is an Instructor of Writing at California University of Pennsylvania. His work can be found in recent or forthcoming issues of Natural Bridge, Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, and Harpur Palate. He lives in southwest Pennsylvania with his wife, Molly, and son, Atticus.

“My favorite old thing is the previously undeveloped film in garage-sale-found cameras from the 1940s through ‘60s, which spurred this piece, and many others, over the past few years.”

Back to Issue 2: Old Things

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