Thanksgiving in Hannah’s Kitchen


Aromas, spicy and strong,

emit themselves from the depths of Hannah’s kitchen

where she busies herself with tasks no one will notice:

potatoes peeled, cranberries washed

and flour swept from the floor after making pies.

I and others in the family offer to help her

but Hannah finds us as useless

as the cold, dead turkey she pats dry.

She fills the bird with stuffing and rubs him with oil,

massaging the skin as if it were a former lover.

She reflects on by-gone days and her early escapades

into the promises and promiscuity of youth.

She glances around the kitchen,

embarrassed by the direction her mind has gone

just one more reason she is glad to be alone.

She tends to the turkey once again,

preening him like a groom before his wedding.

She is startled when his legs become untucked

as if wanting to run, one last time, from the shallow pan.

Meticulously she binds them, tighter this time,

then shoves the whole damn turkey into the oven.

While attending a poetry session at a Writer’s Conference a few weeks ago, we were challenged to write a poem about someone’s kitchen, but not our own. We were to make it feel like a comfort spot for the subject. We were to incorporate the words “tenderly”, “into the oven” and “dead”; and introduce someone new, either real or imaginary, halfway through the poem. In the last sentence, we were instructed to use a word we wouldn’t ordinarily use (guess which one that is)! This is the result of that challenge.

Image source: Pinterest

My In-Between Life

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I grew up an “in-between-er”. Not because of family order – there were only two of us, my sister and me – but because of where we lived. Our house was in the country, but not on a farm and just over half an hour from the nearest city.

I did not identify with city girls who strutted either uptown or downtown and seemed to know the difference. They tottered the sidewalk in shoes I could never have owned; my father would have somehow made me feel less of a person for wanting them, and I shudder to think what he might have done had I actually come home with a pair.

I wasn’t comfortable with farm girls either. I had no daily chores that required me to wake at dawn and find a bucket for feed or a basket for eggs. I never had to butcher my best friend. My summers didn’t include a harvest except to witness it. When the fields I passed to and from school every day began to sprout green, I couldn’t tell the difference between wheat and barley, but what did it matter? I was allergic to it all, anyway!

I must have spoken to my grandmother at some point in time about my “in-between-ness”. She was my favorite person to spend time with when I was young. I remember her telling me that in-between was simply the best place in the world to be. It was, after all, the place between yesterday and tomorrow, the place between hello and goodbye, and the place she most wanted me to be: between her arms.

My response to today’s one-word prompt: Strut

Weekly Photo Challenge – Peek

This week’s photo challenge says: “share a peek of something — a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested.”

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“Compel us…to find out more!”

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These are American Bison – not buffalo! Contrary to the song “Home on the Range,” buffalo do not roam the American West, bison do!  Bison live only in North America, while the two main buffalo species reside in Africa and Asia.

The photos were taken at Wildlife Safari Park, which is owned and operated by the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Peek