There have been thirty-six turkeys
in my life, each near Christmas.
Two I have missed, in í86 and Ď88
and also missed the death of my
That year in Vienna, I phoned
from a bar serving schnitzel.
the pale evening, as if a far off
heaved itself into the violet dusk.
We eat well at these dinners: stuffings,
mulled berries, roasted turkey,
Our mother is getting so she shakes
lifting the black, fat-spitting
Our father carves still with respectful
movements to the bird, feeling its
into neat slices of meat. This year
talk about the old Murray cabin
up the road.
But thatís as passing as the morning
Instead heís telling me of a cousin
he hasnít seen
since his motherís funeral.
And this word
hangs, the f sticking on
like the clot of fat and blood he
wipes from the knife.
Later Iíll leave him alone, jacket
his half a snifter on the back deck.
Heíll look a long way off into the
sky and find
the railroad camps near Shasta,
our sisterís ballet debut,
his first night with our mother
cruising San Jose.
They tail like glowing meteors over
In the morning weíll walk shoulder
quietly through new snow
as though the stars had fallen to
ashes over night.
© by Jeff Knorr