Various and Sundry Poetry

thanksgiving and wreckage

This day is for gratitude, and I could say something about the snow,
the way it’s descending, these soft kissing wisps.
I could tell you about the slow unfolding aroma from the oven,
the giant bird which will, in a matter of hours, feed nine.
There is, too, the blanket under which the bulk of my body
is now warming itself, or the nest of this room, or the silence
purring through the house. The day is a series of plentitudes,
heaping teaspoons of love and grace and goodness,
primed for clasped hands and laughter and words redolent of cinnamon
and bay leaf and eddies of melted butter. I can already taste that meal,
can already feel that first button on my jeans make its first indentation
in my belly, can imagine the gooey stupor of the guests as they gather
their shoes from the alcove and attempt to cleave themselves
from the toasty kitchen.

Still, I can’t help thinking of you and the table you’ve set.
I picture your thin frame, bent over a stove, stirring something
with apples, or sweet potatoes, shaking in salt or sugar,
willing yourself to forget, to veer away from the pungent
memories of us, all those afternoons we lost ourselves
and how delicious that kind of amnesia was. I see you,
standing before the cabinet where the plates are,
doing the math, frowning then steeling yourself,
almost taking another plate out, then not,
and I wonder if you know an absence is here, too,
the indentation where your body once was,
places you warmed with your breathing,
places I stowed you away for safekeeping.

I know that later, of course, the house will be filled
with voices, and there will be pie and stories, and night will crawl in,
camouflaging loss and regret and everything left unsaid and untouched.
We will find ourselves in a honeycomb of revelry,
and then the pile of dishes will ask for attention
until tiredness flatlines us, and for a moment, I hope,
we will each turn from the palpable wreckage,
this unplaced place setting, and feel the featherdust
of healing, let a lick of warm light
enter into the raw edges of whatever has been broken,
thread itself through,
and stitch us while we sleep.