-- After viewing Edvard Munch’s Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature)
If you let go of your Halloween
peanut-candy corn-coated breath,
it will become a ghost in the city of Odessa.
Not like that cheery chubby Casper cartoon
or those grotesque movie ghouls.
Rather a spirit of relief floating in an October chill.
Is this how we make the world small?
Through breath and air?
Maybe the redwoods in California
will smell the sweet aroma of your release.
If you dress yourself in a coat of curiosity
while driving around these overcrowded concrete streets,
you will see the city’s dress is summer green
with a hem of frightened yellow, drab brown
and a collar of panicked orange.
Munch mimics fall with the same hues
in Der Schrei der Natur.
This contorted face he sketched
in his whirlwind of colors
is no more terrifying than my dreams
rummaging through the darkness, fishing for stars.
Is this what fear looks like,
a distorted jaw and murky shadows?
If so, does a violet scream joy?
If we wait until tomorrow to remove our masks,
truth will follow us into November.
You will see beneath this flesh I am a pole.
Your words lean against everything you once feared.