First Thanksgiving

When she talked me through my first
Thanksgiving turkey
I was living in a tiny rental
in the north woods.
It was the first time
I couldn’t make it home.
With the smallest turkey I’d ever seen
and a telephone, she coached me through the prep
She was deep in the making of her own feast,
feeding a dozen people later that day.
She described how to prepare the bird:
butter on the cleaned dry skin,
some rosemary and thyme,
plenty of salt and pepper,
and some apples in the cavity.
It filled my tiny oven
and I cooked my own meal
slowly and carefully.
I called her each time I had to baste
just to make sure I was doing it right.

I’m at home now and she is gone,
went into a hospital the night
of last year’s Thanksgiving
and never came home.
The food is just as good,
a few more people here
and my culinary aptitude
has certainly increased.

There is a hollow in the house,
a undertone of grief
an empty cavity that just
can’t be filled with apples.

Jessica S. Frank is a poet from Wisconsin. She has been published in a few small journals that closed, and then a few more that are still open. She was an Artist-in-Residence at Arteles (Hameenkyro, Finland) in March 2015.

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