THANKSGIVING, 2011

As we began our drive home

from Iowa, up the long sigh of Midwest,

full of turkey and the kind of fruit salad

made of Jello, talking aimlessly about

the desserts, the tacky upholstery,

I did not expect you to turn off

the narrow road onto scattered gravel,

the parking lot of the graveyard

sagging out like bounty of a cornucopia.

It would sound too cliche to write

how the trees slouched just so,

the stone stumps like corn scattered

by some great god, the green green grass.

When I realized where we were,

where you had brought me with no warning

like death, my tears came instantly,

well-trained hounds sprinting after

some imaginary pheasant. I wept—

not because you learned too young

what a body diluting looks like

but because I knew this was the moment

I would meet your mother, or at least

where you lost her for the last time,

lowering her back to the earth:

the farmer’s wife who bore land

and harvest and six strong sons

before that last, long winter.

- Sierra DeMulder

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