The Headless Horseman Walks the Pumpkin Trail at the Lubbock Arboretum

So many possible faces. Once I was a man. Once I held my tiny niece’s hand, watched her fingers curl around my single forefinger. I remember the sweet pink of her skin, the scrunch of her nose when she cried. Everywhere fathers carry daughters on their shoulders, clap sons on their backs, stoop down to smile at so many round and snaggle-toothed faces. When a mother stops her stroller at the hay bales midway, I wait until her back is turned, peer inside. The baby waves her fat arms toward the glow of my face, unafraid: I’m just another Jack.


Margaret Emma Brandl’s writing has appeared in journals such as Gulf CoastThe Cincinnati ReviewYalobusha ReviewPithead ChapelCartridge Lit, and CHEAP POP. She earned her PhD at Texas Tech University and her MFA at Notre Dame and currently teaches at Austin College. Visit her website ( or say hi on twitter (@margaret_emma).