Poetically Yours - Everyone celebrates differently or not at all
Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s featured artist is Shuly Xóchitl Cawood.
Cawood is an award-winning writer and the author of six books, including Something So Good It Can Never Be Enough: poems (Press 53, 2023); the flash essay collection What the Fortune Teller Would Have Said, winner of the 2022 Iron Horse Literary Review Prose Chapbook Competition; and Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning (Mercer University Press, 2021), winner of the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Sun, and Brevity. She has an MFA from Queens University, and she loves leading writing workshops, hiking, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at shulycawood.com. Here’s her take on the day after Halloween.
Poem Written the Day After Halloween
Didn’t have a costume. Didn’t beg for candy. Didn’t have kids
so didn’t hold anyone’s hand around the block and nudge them
toward doors. Didn’t turn on the porch light and pass out Snickers.
Holed up in the back of the house. Didn’t go to any parties.
Didn’t smoke weed, or sip a cocktail, or throw back beer.
Didn’t light up a cigarette outside while everyone inside
ate Spicy Cheetos and thumped along to 80s beats. Didn’t nurse
a hangover the next day. Didn’t feel like I was in my twenties
again because I’m not sure I was ever in my twenties the way
other people were. Lay on the couch. Worked that remote.
Considered that neon orange wig I bought when I was still single
and how I wore it to a swing dance. Remembered how that night
so many people didn’t recognize me, which says something about
the wig, or how little everyone knew me then. Went to bed early.
Did not turn on the porch light all night just in case trick-or-treat
stragglers roamed the streets. Looked out the window much later. Saw
no one. Saw the house across the street, its pumpkin-lined stoop. Wondered
what they thought of me, not passing out candy to their kid. Didn’t care
that much. Slept well. Did not regret not donning that neon-orange wig.
Did not wake up wondering if I’d be better off being