Another dysfunctional Thanksgiving!

Time to dust off the china, chipped and mismatched
like us, incomplete yet serviceable
broken and lost over the years
and added to, piece by piece
partial sets of dinnerware entrusted to me for safekeeping
the salvage of shipwrecks and divorces
fairy tales with bitter endings told in bread-and-butter plates and gravy boats

Dear Lord, forgive us
Ours is not the candle-lit table pictured on the cover of Pottery Barn
We are not those people caught in a moment of laughter, raising Riedels for a toast,
the plastic turkey posed on a hand-painted platter made in Portugal or Poland, some distant oppressed country our ancestors fled
in search of freedom and a job

So bring your new girlfriend, your old boyfriend
Bring the guy next store
Manny? sure, he’s family
Bring your ex husbands — bring my ex husbands —
We’re a family of steps leading where
I don’t know but bring your excess baggage
if you don’t mind sleeping with it
we’ve got plenty of room

Dogs? Yeah,
they’re family too, and so much more thankful
Yet they too will show their teeth
before the day is done
snarling and quarreling over
slivers of fat and the
wishbone gets thrown out with
the trash

Come one, come all, for yet another dysfunctional Thanksgiving!

If you’ve got a car that will make it
if your battered heart can take the journey
over the river and through the woods
to grandmother’s house where the smell of roast turkey
like regret,
whets the desire for what never was

Let’s give thanks for the miracle of water turned into wine
fermented grape to ease the heart’s burn
proof that Jesus loves us every one
Pass the stuffing please, and the gravy
a little lumpy but heartfelt
plenty of God’s grace to go around

Under the table the dogs pray
with pure and trusting hearts
while outside in the forest bears settle in for a long sleep
and a generation of acorns buried and forgotten
wait for spring.

— Linda Collison, 2012