SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

I Cook Thanksgiving Dinner with My Dead Mother


Tucking the wings back under the bird’s body must have resurrected

her, because there was Mom, already chopping onions. We didn’t talk

about my lifestyle, my father, or the burnt-to-a crisp skin of my brilliant

career, nor did we chat about the time she stuffed the turkey with Saltines

because they were on sale at Raley’s, and everyone got so thirsty we all

got drunk, even the children. We didn’t reminisce about past Thanksgivings,

like the time I arrived late and my brother slammed the table and roared,

“We are not going to save her any goddamn salad.” Mom made a point

of reminding me that she set out a half grapefruit for my appetizer,

because I’m allergic to shrimp. We didn’t mention her bad heart—or mine.

We just chopped, boiled, simmered, stewed, sliced, roasted, and sautéed

in butter, and then twisted the turkey wing and tucked it under the body

of the bird, even though it meant breaking the bones a little bit to do it.

Diane K. Martin’s work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Field, Kenyon Review, Tin House, Plume, and many other journals. Her poems have been included in Best New Poets and have received a Pushcart Special Mention. Her first collection, Conjugated Visits, a National Poetry Series finalist, was published in 2010 by Dream Horse Press. Her second book, Hue & Cry, is forthcoming from MadHat Press in September, 2019.


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