16. All Hallow’s Eve

Mom hates Halloween, but

each year she leaves a bowl of candy on the front porch

with a sign: “Jesus is not scary.”


The cancer has moved to her eye and brain.

I wait all month to buy pumpkins and candy,

afraid cancer will outrun the Day of the Dead.


Mom is not afraid. Just before Halloween, she calls

with good news. I buy a whole cartful of pumpkins,

string orange lights on the porch.


The kids hang ghosts in our live oak tree.

On All Hallow’s Eve, Mom wears a mask

the one she wore all October during her radiation


She hands out candy with her grandkids,

telling each trick-or-treater,

“Jesus is not scary.”