By Rebecca Horrigan

It’s sunny, but I bought a pumpkin.
Through the busy, hot, impersonal parking lot
where no fall leaf makes its mark
I cradle the buoyant, bright
unmistakably orange gourd.
Into my dusty car,
it seems to smile in the shotgun seat.
Street parking only today.
One hand fastened tightly to the just-might-break grocery bag
the other lightly hugging my carrot-colored companion close to my chest.
It seems to balance on my arm
as we begin our limp-walk home.
Cars respect the pumpkin.
Like a yellow light, they cautiously pump the brakes in its tangerine glow.
Heading up the concrete stairs, one side of me drags
the groceries, the crumpled to-do list, the leaking water bottle.
The other side of me floats
like an orange buoy, the round accessory lifts us up
above the stained, green Astroturf
to the top of the stairs
where the blue sky and magnanimous mountains stand in loyal greeting.
Where the gentle palm trees wave us in, swaying in the breeze
that might just have a hint of a chill.
Perched on the coffee table, the pumpkin sits.
Making no demands.
Accomplishing nothing.
Offering everything in its silent, simple cheer.

Rebecca Horrigan is an English teacher and writer living in Santa Barbara. She enjoys writing for the Santa Barbara Independent, practicing yoga, listening to music, enjoying nature, and cooking.