• Hil Hoover

post-apocalyptic pumpkin patch

vines thick on the ground, leaves

larger than my hand, than both

hands held together - edible, I wonder? - bristly, not quite

pleasant to touch, but not painful

either, smells edible enough when

crushed gently, more cooked-green

than salad, could do, could do,

I whisper aloud, to a party that

hasn’t actually accompanied me

in months, in a world that hasn’t

actually shown me other life in

months, and then, the kicker,

a scrap of blue cloth? hanging

on the vines? sign of life? or death

that happened here?

careful movement forward, machete

equally ready for underbrush or

self-defense, but always eyes on

that scrap of cloth, on that simple

question of life, life, in this post-life

world, this strange patch of garden

in the midst of abandoned homes,

the eventual grasp not with shaking

fingers but with the tip of the blade,

and it comes away slowly, a

child’s blanket snagged on the vines,

a long-lost relic of innocence

hiding what? a missing child?

alive or dead?


neither, but only, the single pumpkin

in the patch, large and ripe and

beautiful, ready to be soup, ready

to be roasted seeds, ready to be

a jack-o-lantern, because why not,

it’s getting cooler, it might even be

Halloween for all I know, having long

since lost track of time, could be,

could be, I whisper aloud, only

I’m not talking to my lost friends now,

am I, but the blanket I’ve picked up

and tucked in my elbow, just in case

it might keep me safe tonight


@wanderinghil on twitter, I always forget to include any links or whatever

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