Dead turkey inspires poem

6721770717_518cc40136_mGrace had the idea we would brine the Thanksgiving turkey, which sounded simple: put turkey in giant ziploc bag, add water to cover, and put in one cup of kosher salt for every gallon of water. The task was arduous, considering that the turkey weighed 20 pounds and the water an additional 25 pounds (three gallons x 8.34 lb. per). Getting it into the refrigerator was handled by Jimmy, aided by a sturdy dishpan.

I interacted with that turkey a lot in the 24 hours leading up to the time that cooking began. By 8am Thursday it was in the oven. Throughout NaNoWriMo , I’ve been doing my prose poem writing at night. But after my encounter with the turkey, I couldn’t wait all day. Inspiration was right there. I sat down. I went with it.

Headless Bird

The neck, broken, is inserted into the place its beating heart once went. That’s there
too, packaged in plastic, a gift from the slaughterer to the cook. The cold skin like
an old person’s, loose on the bone, yet like a baby’s, inviting touch. Empty and patted
dry, the body gets filled with white onion, branches of thyme and rosemary, and two
rubbery carrots. A long loose flap of skin I stretch over the spinal stem and under
the back, which rests on a rack. The pliant flap, like a bandage, hides a cross-section of
connectors that once signaled a head — no longer here — to turn, to look, to peck.

Image credit: Turkey (2009), wattpublishing on Flickr via a Creative Commons license.

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