Welcome to the online journal of the UICA Writers' Group!

We are the writing collective at the Urban Institute For Contemporary Arts, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We've been at it for over 10 years, and are one of the most published groups in the state.

Our member's output is greatly varied - genre & literary fiction, poetry, non-fiction of all stripes, essays, children's books, playwrights and script-writers in just about every genre imaginable.

Halloween Afternoon - Nathan TerMolen

Children understand the true nature of Halloween, whether they want to or not.

Halloween Afternoon
by Nathan TerMolen

        A magician this year,  he creeps home.
        Wand and stuffed rabbit
        safe in his backpack under
        a black cape flapping in warm wind.
        Chocolate smudged on his white
        dress shirt from one of those cupcakes
        baked in an ice cream cone - they look so tasty but

        the truth is choking-dry - not so cool
        once the frosting’s gone.

        The mauve faces of mums smile from
        front porches where jack-o-lanterns
        (now stashed in safe breezeways)
        will greet night. The sun
        full and happy - he sees
        eclipse light - twisted, strange and bright.

        All day long, from
        the crossing guard to Old Ms. Williams,
        raking her yard, those grownups don’t see
        the thin, twisty line
        between sunny afternoon
        and devil Halloween.

        He steps on no cracks, knows today
        a flipped over flagstone shows a way
        to goblin lairs. Piles of cheery yellow leaves
        hold black-green tentacles just out
        of sight in shadowed crannies.

        Starlings don’t move like normal birds.
        No hoppity sparrows, they walk like golems,
        whir and chip like machines- wind-up minions
        tracking movements. They’ll give the signal - take him!
        Pale hands grab ankles from curbside drains.
        He is careful. Safe.

        Home, he passes through
        the door. A dead
        quiet house - feels the change before:
        broken vodka bottle
        tacky blood on the
        floor those grownups don’t know.

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Copyrights to all original stories and art are held by their authors as noted; used here with permission.