Halloween 1970

for WMP (1938-2010)

My dad’s Buick parked and running,
heater on, us inside.

Between his legs a squatty bottle of beer.
In my bag just nine Oh Henry candy bars
he bought me at the liquor store.

Ahead of us on the sidewalks we see
Gerry Fiske and Alan Byl,
dressed up like cowboys.

“Your mother turned me into this,” he says.
He drinks from his bottle
and I open the candy.

Gerry recognizes our car
and taps on the glass. I wave at him,
removing my tiger mask.

My dad honks the horn once
and Gerry runs off ahead.

Later, sitting in the car
outside my grandparents’ house,
Dad smokes filtered Camels
and we watch through the back window
as the rest eat at a big table inside.

He punches the cigarettes out on the heel of his hand,
then flicks the butts out the window.

“Your mother…” he says. But he doesn’t finish.

Pfefferle, W.T. “Halloween 1970,” Cortland Review. (Spring) April 2011.