The Cutest Witch

She surely was the cutest witch
that I had ever seen.
She was no more than six years old,
that day on Halloween.

I thought it seemed so very strange
that she was all alone,
and that she'd come before nightfall
and when the sun still shone.

She had a pumpkin in her hand
I thought was meant for sweets.
I went to get my goody bowl
filled up with chocolate treats.

'Twas then I saw her little face
was saddened with a frown.
Then hesitating just a bit,
she put her pumpkin down.

She looked into my eyes and said,
"Hello, my name's Marie.
We just moved in across the tracks;
it's just my Mom and me.

"My Mama saved up for a year
so she could buy my suit.
Oh, ma'am, I do love chocolates,
but could you give me fruit?

"You see, my Mom's been sick a lot,
and we don't have much food,
'cause Daddy died six months ago,
and fruit would do her good.

"If you don't have some fruit, I think
a can of soup will do,
and I'd be mighty thankful for
a pack of crackers too."

I saw her tiny face light up,
with twinkles in her eyes.
She whispered, "Mama doesn't know,
because it's my surprise."

Inside a bag I placed some fruit
and soup that I had handy,
then picked her little pumpkin up
and stuffed it full with candy.

She thanked me very happily;
her eyes displayed a spark.
She said, "Goodbye; my Mama said
come home before it's dark."

I did not know my nine-year-old
was standing close nearby,
because my vision was so blurred
by tears that welled my eye.

But later when I heard her talk
to friends by telephone,
I knew that she had formed a plan
that was her very own.

That night around the neighborhood
she and her friends did troop
and ask at every porch-lit home
for food and fruit and soup.

With them they carried grocery sacks
and pranced around with glee.
On every sack, in neon words,
was printed, "For Marie."

When they were done they scampered off
and marched across the tracks
with bags of candy they'd received
and bulging grocery sacks.

Copyright 2001 Ruth Gillis

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