in the basement of the house
where I started to grow up
I see a Cub Scout uniform
hanging from one of the many pipes
I've worked on over the years.
The boy's at his mother's place tonight
but I can see his smile at the pack meeting
as the cycle of preparedness and duty
repeats with similar hitches.
Our father, who art in Limbo
hands me a bag
of ziplocked dark meat
he bought from Price Chopper
regardless of their non-Union status.
We discuss our separate
and unequal Thanksgivings
from our respective perches
on improvised furniture.
He rises to hand me a second package
possibly out of guilt
imploring me not to let it grow hair
in my refrigerator.
I reassure him
that nothing goes to waste.
Simon & Garfunkel play their Greatest Hits
for a private show in my apartment
as I trim the flesh from the bones
with a filet knife
from a lousy set bought by an ex
keeping one hand free of grease
to answer the silent phone
and sip the speaking wine.
These songs always remind me of my mother.
I haven't seen her
since before her hip replacement.
She took her husband back.
She forgot that Italian word for "fake"
that I taught her.
Darkness speaks again
over fingerpicked chords
on an acoustic bound for the zoo
and awkward late-night missives.
Lines about rocks and islands
make me wonder how Jackie's doing
in Chicago, but I'm not drowning
deep enough in the grapes to ask.
Through the window
of my three-storey walk-up
I hear a bottle smashed outside
in an alley too good for itself.
The cigarette crackles
while the box fan draws its smoke.
In the trash can
turkey bones keep secrets
not meant for you nor me.
My last-dead grandparent
laughed in Spanish
when a stumbling cousin
brought a post-holiday carcass
to her home for making soup.
Some meat's gone.
Some meat's saved.
And that's what it's about:
Cutting off the pieces
that might help
make us whole.