Real Mohicans don’t dress for the weather, at least not on Halloween

Finally big enough almost cool enough
to wear Kathryn’s real deal Indian princess costume from last year
Grandma makes me pull on navy tights, school shoes, my bright
green wool sweater.  I grump, cannot argue.  Reach down to tie
plain shoelaces, protest inside. She doesn’t get it,
Kathryn wore real moccasins with forest ready soles.
Mom would know the costume comes first, Dad
would recite directly from Hiawatha.

Grandma takes me back to my neighborhood,
but this time to Kathryn’s yellow house. 
Two doors down, my house stands unmoved.
The grass is mowed.  The light is on. 
It is the old country before the war.

Kathryn and I prowl our blocks for packs of candy corn
the inevitablepopcorn ball.  We trade loot, save
the best.  Our favorite tree, our climbing rock
all look bewitching in the Halloween night.
I forget the malice of these inaccurate tights.  It is effortless
to be with my friend again.

Dragging pillowcases now heavy with candy, we come full circle.
I stand in the driveway of my closest friend,
face to face with my house once more, it hums
warm in the pre-winter night.
Without warning, the overwhelming urge to pee
to relieve, to go home surges through me.  

It is my house, I run to it
bang on the side door.  Mom must be dozing
Dad is in the basement on the computer.  Or changing laundry. 
I must be in my room petting my cat.
No one answers         my bladder on the verge      this is my house
someone must come.  Tears come.  
I miss my dad.  My mom. 
Beat the door. 
Kathryn pulls me into her
house to use the bathroom there.

Later, Grandma picks me up
I am crying.  She covers me
with the green afghan that is always
in the car.  The road leads back to her sweet ordered home. 
I know where everything is.

Grandma draws a bath to close
this cold October night.  I soak . 
I know my parents aren’t home. 
They are in Seattle getting a bone marrow transplant. 
Facts are facts and I am not a conjurer. 
I pull the plug.  Water disappears down.
Dry off with my special towel, Grandma’s rose powder.
Grandma tucks me in, the twin bed secure.
Holds my hand, we pray
for Mom, for Dad. 
She reminds me that the felted banner I made
for his birthday hangs radiant in his hospital room.
Grandma turns out the light.

One journey behind us.