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Thursday, November 26, 2020


by Catherine Gonick

If we are lucky this year, it reminds us of our people.
Of the things we can’t forget. Of things that others
never let us forget, like the year I read Julia Child
and made my sister peel fifty chestnuts with a paring knife
to go with the brussel sprouts. The year a boy
cousin and I each ate an entire drumstick
by ourselves, so much food we couldn’t get up
from the table after dessert. The year the gigantic
turkey, fresh from the oven, was left to rest  
on a side-table, and when everyone showed up
to eat, was almost gone, a carcass, with only
a little meat left on its bones. We thought
it had been devoured by another animal,
possibly a cat, a huge one that must have got in
through the open window,  a beast no one had seen
enter or leave but was known to exist
in the neighborhood.  Was that one of the years
where people got stoned? Like the time I lit up
with the straightest women I knew, my mother
and her favorite niece, who wore cashmere
and brought her own grass? I have forgotten,
but not my mother’s stuffing, the best
and most basic. Pieces torn from bread,
a lot of butter, just enough sage, celery
and onion. Giblets if you can get them.
Cooked inside the bird, without thermometer.
Serve and say prayers for the dead.
Raise a drumstick like a talking stick
and ask for blessings on your table
and our nation. Pass the potatoes
and give thanks for a democracy that, like
our turkey the year of the cat, was nearly
shredded, yet, by some miracle, still left
with enough meat to feed us.

Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines including Notre Dame Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly,  Lightwood, Forge, Sukoon, and PoetsArtists, and in anthologies including in plein air and Grabbed. She was awarded the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Prize for Poetry and was a finalist in the National Ten-Minute Play Contest with the Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is part of a company that fights the effects of climate change.