First, find a stand made from barn wood,
salvaged from the old one
down the creek. The scrap-wood sign
is spray-painted; grapevines

tangle on the beams, tattered brown
and dry against sharp air.
If they have a goat tied in front,
all the better.  No crafts.

No price tags, just black grease pencil,
yellow squash, butternut,
pecans stacked on sawhorse tables.
No tractor-pulled hayrides,

no candy wrapped in cellophane,
no loudspeaker cooing
ghostly moans. Just pumpkins, orange heaps
scattered loose in the dirt,

piled recklessly, leaned against trees,
bumpy, dirt-ridged, splendid.
Grab one with both arms, feel its weight,
Next, lift a smaller one

by its stem—hold it in your hands,
match its gaze eye to eye.
Choose well; they have faces groaning
to break through the rind—

a lumpy dwarf, Miss Fisk from school,
the cannibal next door.
Packed tight, they shine through the hatchback
like broken teeth in a gaping mouth.


Lanette Cadle teaches both rhetoric and creative writing at Missouri State University. Her poet site is at and her academic  blog, “Just a Blog,” is at She has previously published poetry in Weave, TAB: The Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Menacing Hedge, Yellow Chair Review, Rose Red Review, and Stirring. Follow her on twitter @llcadle