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Poem of the Week: Thanksgiving Edition, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Readers! Every week, BOA's staff and interns share one of our favorite poems from our over 300 collections of poetry. This week poem is a special selection from the anthology Appetite: Food as Metaphor, edited by Phyllis Stowell and Jeanne Foster.

We are ever grateful for the passion, the community, and the generosity of our readers, authors, board members, and supporters. We invite you to share your passion and generosity with our community this week by sharing your favorite Thanksgiving poems on social media this week with the hashtag #PoetryGratitudes.

Family Reunion

By Maxine Kumin

The week in August you come home,
adult, professional, aloof,
we roast and carve the fatted calf
—in our case home-grown pig, the chine
garliciked and crisped, the applesauce
hand-pressed. Hand pressed the greengage wine.

Nothing is cost-effective here.
The peas, the beets, the lettuces
hand sown, are raised to stand apart.
The electric fence ticks like the slow heart
of something we fed and bedded for a year,
then killed with kindness's one bullet
and paid Jake Mott to do the butchering.

In winter we lure the birds with suet,
thaw lungs and kidneys for the cat.
Darlings, it's all a circle from the ring
of wire that keeps the raccoons from the corn
to the gouged pine table that we lounge around,
distressed before any of you was born.
Benign and dozy from our gluttonies,
the candles down to stubs, defenses down,
love leaking out unguarded the way
juice dribbles from the fence when grounded
by grass stalks or a forgotten hoe,
how eloquent, how beautiful you seem!

Wearing our gestures, how wise you grow,
ballooning to overfill our space,
the almost-parents of your parents now.
Sop briefly having you back to measure us
is harder than having let you go.

Appetite: Food as Metaphor is a feast of poems by women poets as varied as Lucille Clifton, Isabella Gardner, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Naomi Shihab Nye, and others. In poems that gather a cornucopia of memories, these women reveal how the act of eating, preparing, and sharing a meal nourishes our bodies, our souls, and our dearest relationships. Buy a copy today from the BOA Bookstore.

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