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Monday Meditations

This week's (and next week's) poem was first published in South Dakota in Poems (South Dakota State Poetry Society, 2021), a wonderful anthology of work by South Dakota writers and writers with a South Dakota connection, edited by former South Dakota poet laureate Christine Stewart-Nuñez. You can get a copy here: South Dakota in Poems.



         a South Dakota Thanksgiving


The turkey will be spatchcocked, splayed

like a fallen Pilgrim. Potatoes will be

rough-mashed, with polkadots of peel

and enough garlic & rosemary to ward

off vampires. Grandma will find a way

to work candy red hots into every dessert:

green jello salad, sweet potato pie, Eagle

brand caramel pudding. There will be no

stuffing. There will be serious talk of lutefisk

and lefse, hot dishes, bars, Mrs. Larson’s

prizewinning crabapple jelly. There will

be a few passing remarks about religion

and politics, and no one will disagree.

Uncle Boots will flip out his dentures

for the kids and tell Ole and Lena jokes.

The register of our combined knee-slapping

guffawing will wake the night-shift neighbors.

The Trolls movie will play in the living

room, and we will all stop to sing along,

dramatically and with hand gestures, to

“True Colors.” Grandkids will sweetly play

until, fully-amped on pudding and jello,

they will turn Mr. or Ms. Hyde, baring teeth

& claws, upturning furniture, snapping heads

off Barbies, trampolining on perfectly relaxed,

napping bellies. Something will be broken

beyond repair. Someone will get hurt. Someone

will sneak off to hide in the quiet basement.

And as we’re putting on our coats to leave,

we will all give true & serious thanks—

     that we have each other,

     that we made it out alive,

     that it’s over until next year.