Spellbound


The bewitching season is upon us. In her poem “Hand-Me-Down Halloween,” Narrative Prize winner and recent MacArthur Fellow Natalie Diaz presents an intimate view into a child’s first Halloween off the reservation, and what it means to live in the liminal world between shadow and light.

Polly Dugan’s “One at a Time” introduces us to Anna and Peter, whose relationship begins at a bookstore (natch), and progresses to a Halloween party, where Anna overhears something she cannot unhear. Love is always the stuff of beguilement, isn’t it?

Next, Jesse Goolsby’s narrator explores love, sacrifice, and loss through the lens of Halloweens past in “All Saints’ Eve.” Are memories and ghosts alike? Matthew Dickman sees the similarities. “Blood Moon” suggests that remembering can be an admission of death, and sometimes, we aren’t ready to let go. In “Decapitated,” Terese Svoboda laments the distance between a daughter and her late mother, between memory and connection, magic and reality.

But what of malevolent hauntings? We recommend reading Nathaniel Bellows’s “Writer’s College” with the lights on (or, if you’re brave, in a dark, empty house with a suspicious history).

Halloween may be a time for tricks and treats, but not all festivities are festive. Ebony Chinn’s “Tradition” explores a high school student’s sense of identity, asking what it means to be both a ghost and alive.

Finally, Rick Bass invites us to embrace a trance-like state as we bid an early farewell to autumn. Join us, and let the spell of the season transport you.