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B. Luceigh, November 2014

Turkey slices and stuffing,
yams and pumpkin pie,
yesterday’s Thanksgiving Day

Leftovers shared today from plastic containers,
an overabundance repeated
in cold sandwiches and warmed-over pie.

And who does not eat today who did yesterday?
And who does not give thanks today who did yesterday?

In my home were friends, food,
and hearts filled with thankfulness.
At my small table on Earth
we passed filled bowls, sprinkled salt,
wiped our hands on cloth napkins,
drank sparkling water,
and said “thank you” again and again.

Leftovers today made me wonder
of those left out.

Were there those thankful yesterday, not for a turkey,
but for a single glass of pure water?
Were there those thankful for a table to hide under
while bullets fired through their home?

How many were abused somewhere
during my feast?
How many begged for one small cup of food
as I threw away mine that was overcooked?

May we never forget those left out
as we enjoy our leftovers
and fond memories of Thanksgiving Day.

My check sent to the mission
was to feed twenty-five homeless.
I felt good while I wrote it,
imagined them sitting at my table,
but today I feel it was so inadequate
under the weight of hungry millions
and these leftovers on my plate.

As a child, Thanksgiving was celebrated
as a day off from school,
and leftovers were special treats.
As the years of eating turkey have passed
I give pause to remember those
who never have leftovers
because of bowls rarely filled.
I am thankful for what I have,
but thankful as well for the great sadness
that overwhelms me this day after,
for it means I am no longer an uninformed child
but a conscious member of humanity.

Perhaps next year I will fast on Thanksgiving
and there will be no leftovers
other than receipts of donations.
Perhaps then my thankfulness
will be for the lesson
overabundance and leftovers
can teach.