Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


Childhood Halloween

Thomas Smith

The sexy, the transgressive, the political
costumes are well and good, but nothing
can bring back our childhood Halloweens,
no matter how many plastic gravestones
we plant in the yard, or how much orange-
and-black we unpack from the attic,
or how many bags of candy we lay by
for trick-or-treaters, knowing full well
we¹ll eat most of them ourselves.  This afternoon
downtown I saw the perennial hobo
handkerchief-bundled and eye-pencil-
mustached led by a young mom, a tiny
Frozen Elsa, braided to the waist, ambling
gamely along, swinging her candy basket
at her parents¹ side.  We never wanted
real horror (adult life would save plenty
for us), only its lurid imposters,
which still evoke when the mood is right
the secure disarray we once felt running
from some fabricated fright, shrieking our
joy into the arms of a mother or
father who stood tall as a castle
and would never have let a monster
get close enough to threaten the for-
ever we were all going to live.

Thomas R. Smith lives in River Falls and teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. His new  and selected prose poems, Windy Day at Kabekona, is just out from White Pine Press. For more by/about Thomas look here


Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.