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Monday, November 30, 2009


by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

A few of us still at the table with cake and pie
and strong spiked coffee, another Thanksgiving
where football insists that men and Hoosiers gather
before an ever bigger screen in a choreographed
silence, where the judge sits as far away
from the felon as possible, and on the couch
an adopted black girl naps next to my father who
regularly says “nigger” except for today.
There’s that to be said for football.

But back toward the kitchen,
the next generation of women dishes to the next
about their aging folks, their quirks and questionable
decisions. When does helping become enabling?
And isn’t talk of what parents do always just
a little bit about money? To vent is good; to solve
from hours away impossible. Days of indigestion
elapse before I realize this. Sweet sight of faces…
if only their mouths were basted shut.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske's fourth book of poetry Dominant Hand is now available from MayApple Press. She teaches at Kellogg Community College and runs the annual Poems That Ate Our Ears Contest in Kalamazoo, Michigan.