I wake up from a dream about Indians dressed as turkeys,
Headless, spurting
Fountains of blood all over gingham tablecloths
And pilgrims choking, trying to wipe
The blood out of their eyes
And the children of both pulling out their eyelashes,
Presenting them as holiday gifts to each other.

Mum’s skimming grey scum off the stock already,
Says she doesn’t forgive me just because it’s today
And that there’s a football somewhere in the garage,
Which is a lie, and I tell her that.
In other houses on the street, to prove
Everlasting love girlfriends gut birds
And shove their heads inside, dance around.

Or wives put their heads in the oven,
So that when their husbands return from playing
Football with the children they will kiss
Dry cheeks and smell gas and know
That each year their affairs continue
The cooking time will increase
And that holidays are hard for lonely people.

And the fathers who have daily naps on the stoop
Will have been cooped inside and
Suffering terribly from the effects of stress
Will reach across the couch and slowly bend back
The fingers of their children who need contact
So badly that they won’t call out or move away.

I consider rubbing myself with yams,
Washing my hair with gravy,
Pretending that I’m bleeding by dribbling cranberries
Down my chin or down my thighs.
I pull shut the curtains instead, rub my eyes,
Nudge the dog with my filthy foot.

Slumped inside a floral chair
My brother helps me tie one on
With what’s left of the early Christmas present
His ex dropped round in hope
That something would have changed.
I’m good for it,            I say to him.
            I’m good,
                        I’m good,
                                    I’m good.

Rosie Jean Reynolds studied Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and guest lectured there on the Creative Writing MA and English Literature BA. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Stand, Magma, Under the Radar, The Cadaverine and SALT. She is currently working on her first collection. She blogs at

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