Tonight I'm not far from Columbus where
landscape becomes pastoral, and acres of corn
stubble tell the story of an earlier crop.
I park on the side of a rural road, step outside.
The moon, carved with the face of a man
over forty, hangs white in the sky.
A rail fence outlines a field that swallows
moonlight. Hundreds of feet across the field,
a farmhouse fits snug in the night. Orange
flames from a bonfire, night's lantern,
flare upward, throw elongated shadows
against the house.
Several people linger near the fire, faces
distorted Halloween masks. Someone stirs
burning logs. Flames and sparks soar
upward, dazzle the dark.
I'm tempted to cross the field, join the group.
On such a cold, October night,
they would welcome a stranger
who has stumbled upon their hospitality,
but maybe not.
I climb back into my car, leave the bonfire
for someone else to find, feeling fortunate
to have had even a glimpse of its beneficent light.