a Thanksgiving poem

Thanksgiving

Our mother has given away our meal to an elderly woman three houses down, her husband passing some time in the night. With the woman's children already

en route, my mother swaddled our turkey in aluminum foil, stacked the tins of buttered rolls, and sealed casseroles beneath glass-top lids. As the assailable son,

I was enlisted at once, carrying over dish upon dish, my brother and his bride allowed to sleep in. I expected to see the postures of loss: the widow weeping alone at her sink,

perhaps wiping a singular wineglass dry, a slant of light through the kitchen's box pane. But she took each dish without inviting me in, and as I stood in the yard, she latched

the door. I imagined his body recumbent in bed, arms folded across the chest, each heavy palm a lifeless bird. Beside him, she sweeps closed his eyes, lifts the slightly lagging jaw,

seals his parted lips. In our dining room, the table is cleared, the abalone china returned to the shelves, each silver tine slid into its case. My mother nooses a velvet bag (the candlestick her father brought

from the war) then unhinges the table's leaves, drawing out each piece like a galleon's plank. My father's been sent for burgers and fries while my brother continues his vigil of sleep,

young wife dozing off and on at his side. Who's to say when they will rise from their den as she runs a finger along the ridge of his nose, lifts an eyelash, come to rest on his cheek?

- Jonathan Fink

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