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Thursday, November 28, 2019


by Joe Cottonwood

Children never shut the door
except when they slam it.
Wet-footed dogs run through the house.
A dove lost, confused, flaps against the skylight.
From the turkey in the oven we hear
spits and gurgles. No gobbles.

In broad daylight Uncle Olaf and Aunt Gerta
strip and soak in the hot tub.
The children want to join them. We say no.
They say why not. We say BECAUSE!
They whine. We say okay.

Grampa and his girlfriend Jennifer arrive
on a two-seater bicycle from fifteen miles away.
Grampa is eighty and has no hair.
Jennifer hugs everybody, especially the dogs.

The children in the hot tub are naked.
Neighbor children are watching, pointing.
Neighbor mother says something.
She’s always saying something.
We smile. We bring towels.

Uncle Simon on a stepladder catches
the dove in a hanky. We all make calming
coo-coo-coo sounds as he carries it gently,
so gently outside. Unclasps his fingers.
The dove flies to the nearest tree. Clutches
a branch. Head-bobs toward us. Thankful.

Now let’s hold hands around the table,
close our eyes. Do not think of That Man.
Squeeze (gently) the hand you’re holding.
Let go, like a dove.

Joe Cottonwood wants every day to be a Day Without.