“Ten Months After the Ball”

What do you do with Halloween pumpkins once they’ve served their purpose and are beginning to rot? At our house, we toss them over the front porch, where the remains can rest in peace hidden by the shrubbery. One summer we were surprised to see a lush vine growing, and it dawned on us: this was the fruit of our former jack-o-lanterns.

I don’t think our vine produced any pumpkins that time, but last year we harvested three pumpkins (and a number of small gourds, similarly birthed) thanks to our hands-free gardening approach, which we highly recommend. The header photo shows this year’s vine.

While not every poem can trace its roots to a specific incident, the one below was directly inspired by that initial vine. It was our own Cinderella story, the cast-off transformed into something beautiful. Peace to your ♥ !

 Ten Months After the Ball

That October
while the midnight air
danced with violins,
the castle clock
hushed its warning,
the gown of gossamer
spun itself away,
the mice ran home
to drafty attic holes,
and only the pumpkin
was left by the side
of the long drive.

This August
the midday air
shimmers with butterflies,
the wardrobe brims
with satin and lace,
the mice dine royally
on crumbs of Brie.
In the castle courtyard
a newborn cries,
and halfway down the drive,
a gardener muses over
a thick, luxuriant vine.

© Stephanie Malley
Our first baby pumpkin!