Each year the Sunfrost farm stand in Woodstock displays an amazing array of jack-o’-lanterns. The crude faces I carved as a boy with a kitchen knife—two triangular eyes and a rectangular mouth with a tooth—have given away to intricate carvings that rival tattoos in variety and sophistication. One year, I’d swear, I saw Che Guevara’s face on a pumpkin, Woodstock’s answer to Jesus on a pancake. Suppose those Sunfrost pumpkins appeared on The Dating Game…
Of one hundred pumpkin faces
candle lit on farm stand bleachers,
how many do you recognize from town?
The mayor: does he have tic-tac-toe for a face?
Or a sports car for a smile? The romance columnist,
who advises country women meeting new mechanics
every week, has eyebrows carved like scythes.
The banker could only be the $ sign,
the plumber has a crescent wrench for a nose.
The homeless woman who plays saint on the green,
blessing traffic in her year-round hooded coat;
she must be the question mark, flickering,
as if it might go out. Which are you, my love,
glowing on the shelves? Heart-shaped lips
plumped up for a kiss? Almond eyes open to
an orange soul? Do you wear diamonds?
Or is the marijuana leaf your sign?
Do you have bat wing ears or lopsided eyes,
as if you must be from that other planet,
a place I know all too well myself?
If only you’d wink among one hundred
pumpkins, I’d be happy then to be faceless,
but full of pulp and full of seed.