Modern Day Thanksgiving

So, they say I’m thankful
and I must give thanks, as if this
were a religious not a national
holiday, but we sit around eating
gorging hiding our thanks
through stuffed belly’s and
our uncle’s ugly sweater.

I’m currently hiding behind
a plate of stuffing and my personal
favorite of Mashed Sweet Potatoes
intensified by hints of maple syrup
and the orgasmic Marsh-mellows.
I stare into the slightly lumpy pile
of orange potatoes as a small cube of butter
i put on top melts down through the
canyons and finally crashing down to
the stuffing next to it.

The family eats in the silence of
moving mouths and clinging utensils
as they look up to see if there is more
of something, my uncle waves for
the cranberry sauce “Cranberry sauce please!”.
It’s in front of me, I hate cranberry sauce
so naturally it always resides nose whiff away.
Its textured jell-o and crimsoned appeal always
reminds me of coagulated blood as if they squeezed
it from the raw turkey itself.  Blah,
I’m not thankful for that.

However, I do seem to be thankful for the turkey
as the slight scent of onions and bird float
through the lofty air and I take up the moment
of family silence just to breathe through my nose
and have my nostrils pleasantly singed by
scents all around.  Happy Thanksgiving… I take
a spoon full of stuffing and indulge.

Then dessert, pies and pies and pies
pies and pies and pies of
self loving and later self loathing quantities
Apple Pumpkin cherry and some other unknown berries
we indulge. Gluttony our damnation. My grandma
eats nothing.

Small talk breaks out as bitching about
jobs, future, economy politics environment
break out into bitter rivalries. Republican
and democrat views break out into a sly fight
of what is right and which is wrong. I stand
the independent of it all.  I’m thankful to be
undecided.

Then rivalries subside into memories
as my mother and uncle tell stories and glories of
their past. My father, an only child breaks
into nostalgic dreams of him and his late parents
sitting around a full table just grateful to have
the food to survive. My grandma sits in silence
imagining what my Grandfather would have to say.

He would have stood up and said “I’m thankful for…”
something, family, friends, anything… it’s hard
to see traditions die, but I’m not bold enough
to step on the great man’s shoes. It has only been
two years.

About Three hours after
bitching, cleaning, eating, and even taking
a short walk by myself. I’m the only one
awake as my family lays dead on my
grandmothers furniture.  I’m stuck on the floor
watching some Texas college football game.  I pretend
I’m one of them racing the ball to the
end-zone, but I wonder where are their families?
Sitting in the stands eating pork hot-dogs instead
instead of a feast?

I hear the cheering of the crowd and I think
I see the family of one of the line
men cheering their heart outs for some
wide receiver who never made the catch, they
still cheer. I see the breath float from their
lips as they shoot out words “I love you still!
Just keep going!”  And he does, he makes
the next catch then TOUCH DOWN! I wait to see
the family cheering but

the channel changes as my uncle grabs
the remote and grumbles about the shortcomings
of the other team.

He puts on some PBS choir from the fifties
singing Christmas music with plastered on smiles
and perfect images of sugar plums and merchandise
in their heads.

“Merry Christmas,”
I think to myself. I need to
start shopping, tomorrow is Black Friday after all.
We must go through the motions, It is
our current tradition.

Then I gently fall asleep into sugar-plum dreams
and solitary left over turkey sandwiches dancing
in my head as the football family cheers for
something more than success or turkey.

I wake up alone, my family all still sleeping.
My face imprinted with carpet marks and
my sides hurt from the hard floor
“Happy Thanksgiving!” I text all my friends
in silently read voiceless words.  “Happy
Thanksgiving Pop-pop”, I whisper
“I miss you” and hope hears me
as I quietly rattle off all
for which I am
Thankful.

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