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Turkeys by Mary Mack

Turkeys

by Mary Mack

published in her book, Breaking the Fever (Marsh Hawk Press)


One November

a week before Thanksgiving

the Ohio river froze

and my great uncles

put on their coats

and drove the turkeys

across the ice

to Rosiclare

where they sold them

for enough to buy

my grandmother

a Christmas doll

with blue china eyes


I like to think

of the sound of

two hundred turkey feet

running across to Illinois

on their way

to the platter

the scrape of their nails

and my great uncles

in their homespun leggings

calling out gee and haw and git

to them as if they

were mules


I like to think of the Ohio

at that moment

the clear cold sky

the green river sleeping

under the ice

before the land got stripped

and the farm got sold

and the water turned the color

of whiskey

and all the uncles

lay down

and never got up again


I like to think of the world

before some genius invented

turkeys with pop-up plastic

thermometers

in their breasts

idiot birds

with no wildness left in them

turkeys that couldn't run the river

to save their souls



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