“The Day Before Thanksgiving” by Jed Myers

The Day Before Thanksgiving

 

I remember not

wanting to wander outside

 

the lines of

the full-page cartoon turkey

 

I colored in

with the available browns,

 

reds, golds,

and yellows the Crayola

 

box between

Irvin Snyder and me

 

offered up

while Mrs. Gregory watched

 

over all of

us, her high-necked solid-green

 

dress over two

great breasts, belly

 

and hips also mountainous, calves and ankles

 

thick as church

columns in their flesh-

 

colored

stockings. She cruised the aisles

 

between our

rows of desks, clopping

 

close then

away in her fat-heeled shoes,

 

her white hair

cinched in a bun, a patriot

 

goddess of

George Washington’s Revolution.

 

Irvin was

fast. In his hand the wax flared

 

out past the

black demarcations. His turkey looked

 

jittery, as if

it shook in its dread

 

anticipation

of being blasted

 

or having its

head chopped off any moment,

 

as if it were

radiating already

 

with oven

heat, crayon feathers and all,

 

Irvin swiftly

giving it life

 

on its final

Wednesday, haphazardly

 

fattening it

by a half-inch outside

 

its outlines.

It was furry with streaks

 

of those

sunset and earth tones he slap-dashed

 

over the

fictional meat.

 

I proceeded

 

with care.

Mrs. Gregory’s eyes,

 

like orbiting

satellites or atomic

 

electrons, could

be anywhere. She glared

 

right through

the back of my head, the righteous

 

witness for

all America, telepathic

 

reporter to

Congress, the President, God,

 

and my mom and

dad. My fingers were locked

 

in meticulous

progress, the tip of my implement

 

far too fat

for the exactness

 

I felt was

expected. I squinted

 

and bent

close. I approached the limits

 

of each

distinct patch of the image

 

of our

sacrifice with a selected shade,

 

keeping my

surgical acts inside

 

those sacred

edges. My turkey was neat.

 

But it would

never be ready to eat.

 

Mrs. Gregory

marched by and leaned,

 

her right

breast, the very flesh of our manifest

 

destiny, next

to my pounding temple,

 

lifted my

sheet, and with an imperious

 

grunt,

straightened herself and strode on

 

to the next,

my Thanksgiving bird to remain

 

mostly white,

its lower reaches and feet

 

like the map

of a region of nameless provinces

 

none of us

knew much about. Our nation

 

and all its

hungry beliefs would race

 

through the

coming sunset and into the next

 

mass ritual of

it self-confirmation

 

without that

perfect portrayal of thanks

 

I would not

complete. So I wept

 

at my desk,

over my failed operation,

 

the golden

autumn afternoon light

 

like beams of

mysterious glory slanting

 

in on Ms.

Liberty’s powdered neck.

DrMyers2

 

Jed Myers is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Golden Handcuffs Review, qarrtsiluni, Atlanta Review, Quiddity, The Monarch Review, Palooka, Fugue, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Rose Alley Press anthology Many Trails to the Summit, and elsewhere. By day he is a psychiatrist with a therapy practice and teaches at the University of Washington. By night he hosts the long-running open-mic cabaret NorthEndForum. He likes to weave poetry and music together, and sometimes does so with the ensemble Band of Poets.

 

 

 
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s