A Little Less Trussing
It is a beautiful thing, the turkey,
glazed to a crispy brown,
trussed into the perfect shape
for photographs and the center of the table,
You prepare the carving knife.
That is your job, inherited
when your father could no longer be trusted
with knives or emotions.
Cut the turkey. Slice the ham.
Make it all palatable and pretty, ready to eat.
In the end, there are nice thin, even,
pretty slices, all in neat rows on the platter.
A perfect presentation,
It is amazing what you can do with dead things,
and the memories it brings back,
It all starts with the trussing, however,
cutting the strings and hard plastic bindings
that holds the bird just so for cooking.
Taking the blade, before anything else,
and undoing the bindings, a practical act,
a symbolic act, releasing the dead,
the things we are/were forced to be
and allowing the true shape to show itself
to ooohs and aaaahs at the table. All eyes
on the picture, so perfect, no one notices
the lack of trussing that is part and parcel
of coming together again, not as children
but as ourselves. Tradition be damned.
About this poem
I miss my parents each Thanksgiving, It was the holiday when we all came together, no matter where we lived. But I also like how our family has become since their passing, with each year, more true to the individuals that we are, rather than living in a tradition that keeps us in the same place just because that’s how we did it once. Change, sometimes, is better than we imagine it will be. Not always easier, but better.
The picture is from some Thanksgiving past. One of a long line of Turkey shots. A shot I no longer take at Thanksgiving.