The Turkey (a Thanksgiving Poem)

Turkey ready to roast (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Slowly roasting in the oven
are the chestnuts for the stuffing
and the bread whose top is crusting,
while the pies that line the counter –
lemon, mince and plum and apple –
share a gleaming spot of sunlight
with a heaping of delightful
green beans, relish, candied yams;
stacked high ladles, pots, and pans
fill the sink to overflowing,
as the cooks keep stirring dishes
and dear uncle Albert minces
with the cold, hard slicing
of the knife, knife, knife.

Aunt Belinda in the kitchen
is in charge of all the mixing,
the potatoes and the gravy,
the green salad, peas, and pastry.
What’s leftover goes to Mother
with her pantry prowess bared.
She’s been up since seven thirty
basting thick the frozen turkey
while her darling husband relishes
the TV’s golden glow
and the giant bird is soaking
in the juices all its own.
Aunt Belinda shouting orders
fills the kitchen with her roar
while involuntary winces
lurk in mother’s charming smile.
Still dear Uncle Albert minces
with the cold, hard slicing
of the knife, knife, knife.

Mother now is flicking glances
at the parsley snipped so fine.
She thinks coarser flakes would garnish
better than these stingy snips,
but Belinda is the queen bee
and she isn’t taking tips.
Father slowly saunters in
dribbling beer foam down his chin,
sticking chip-stained, pokey fingers
in the dips and sides and sauces
and lamenting football losses.
Brothers, cousins, sisters, babies
start their wailing right on cue
and a chorused round of chaos
rings in metronomic hue
to the wrists slapped limp as fishes.
And still Uncle Albert minces
with the cold, hard slicing
of the knife, knife, knife.

In the corner of the kitchen
where old Uncle Albert sits
is a little block of quiet
set off from the family riot.
He is cutting fine the carrots,
he is clipping close the greens,
he is working in his own world
while his wife demands in screams
that the children who are flitting
should sit down and do her bidding,
but they’re running through the hallways
and they’re tugging on the doors,
jumping on the leather sofas,
scraping up the hardwood floors.
Mom and Daddy now are fighting
and Belinda’s trilling shrills
running rampant with the children
sends up shivers, chills, and flinches.
But still Uncle Albert minces
with the cold, hard slicing
of the knife, knife, knife.

So the turbulence of bedlam
touches Uncle Albert’s calm,
and now Aunt Belinda screeches,
“Albert, stop it – it’s your job!”
Albert nods his head quite slowly.
Aunt Belinda standing holy
with her arms crossed on her chest,
putting Albert to the test.
And he rises to the challenge
with his favorite mincing knife
and he cuts his wife to pieces,
then he lightly bastes each slice.
The kids he ties together
and he puts them in the stew.
Mom and Daddy now are easy –
they go in the oven too.
When the timer says they’re ready
and the luscious smell is heady,
Uncle Albert sets the table
to the best that he is able.
How the shining silver glintzes,
and how Uncle Albert minces
with the cold, hard slicing
of the knife, knife, knife.

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One Response

  1. Laurel says:

    I remember this one. :)

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