They rise each year from
dusty inventory—green olives
and black, the jars of cornichons
and sightless pickled onions. At random,
a tin of mandarin sections
with their bland smiles.
On the sectioned dish, they’ll join
the radish roses, curled celery, bright
rods of carrot, all with the savor
of iced water. Will we give thanks
down the statutory list? Oh, yes, the family,
food and health, jobs if it’s not fraught
this year. On the script—taking
attendance, casting blame, you know how they are.
Pursed lips, small nods and weighing
looks. (Everyone’s on the scale, this day,
Keep the quarrels
to football. Laugh merrily, or roll
your eyes: these are the priestly tasks.
These, and turkey, and marshmallow fluff.
The path is narrow, the gulf deep. But
if we don’t march it, round and round, wheels
in ruts, slots dug deeper, something
will happen. To crops, or wombs, civilization
or cans of olives we’re required to hunger for.
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