Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Letter from Mom

Thanksgiving Letter from Mom

My dear ones, I guess by now you are tired
of me asking what you are thankful for.
It seems an artificial exercise, one I march
you through each thanksgiving evening. Truth
is, I ask myself this question each day.
It is my silent meditation, my amidah,
though G-d is rarely invited to my personal
table. I'm not sure why that is. I used to pray
as a child, now I only ask that our small lives
fly beneath the radar. Happiness is a tricky
blessing. Your great grandmother would spit
to distract the evil spirits. Poo, poo, poo,
she would say whenever anyone complimented
her or her family. I am just as superstitious
but I keep my fears to myself. It's bad enough
you inherited migraines and my sweet tooth.

If you are truly thankful for the pie.
I am more than satisfied. Love is flaky
crust stuffed with layers of tart apples.
Maybe you will remember flatbread, warm
from the oven, drizzled with olive oil
and zataar spice. Not my heritage, but this
is America, we borrow shamelessly, find a way
to make everything our own. Even the invented
ritual of publicly giving thanks is only something
I tore from a magazine at the dentist's office,
along with recipes I'll never make, Halloween costumes
both of you have long outgrown. I see the men
you are becoming and pass heaping platters
of turkey and gravy. If food really is love,
I need to fill your plate. Someday this will be
your table. Remember, no one should leave hungry.

--LJCohen, Thanksgiving, 2008

1 comment:

  1. I thought this poem was wonderful. The tone was soft, slow but with a firm energy. It has a conversational tone that I admire -- it engages me, makes the poem seem less like a written work and more like a conversation in my mind. This may seem an obvious observation, given the addressing nature of the piece, but I think its moves beyond simply relating emotion and wisdom.

    "Someday this will be your table. Remember, no one should leave hungry." The convergent emotions here constitute a wonderful ending.

    Fantastic piece.