Thanksgiving on Long Island

posted December 3, 2018

Our grandmother’s kitchen was neither opulent
Nor clean
Though the house was,
By any account except today’s,
A mansion.

No matter. We studied the art of
Intentional shabbiness
Narrowing the aperture
To focus only on what foments two things:

The practical. The conversation.

There were saddles in the downstairs bathtub
For the three horses in the stable
The horses grazed on
The old grass tennis court
It’s net long torn away.

The stove remained ancient
Through the 80s and 90s
Spices in the cupboard
could be older than the young cook, early 20s,
Trying to prove to her aunts and uncles
Adulthood through culinary legerdemain.

Our grandmother
Dead four years
We still could not celebrate Thanksgiving
Anywhere else.

Fierce in our sequester
From the rest of the world,
We asked again and again for one more year

To walk down that late November
Country road to Jericho;
Find the trail through wetlands, horse fields, denuded trees
Breathe the smell of snow that doesn’t yet fall
Feel the lung-burn of touch football
Played with a dizzying disregard for rules
Or boundaries.

Give me that kitchen table
We made out of an old piece of plywood
So we all could fit––
No children’s table again.
Here we ate our lunch of dry bird
And rich pie
and lingered, talking and laughing
All afternoon until it was time
For dinner.

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