Bio Note: Thanksgiving is my favorite of the big holidays. I like the way it is the least commercial, and is mainly focused on family, friends, and good food. My mother and I still laugh at her success in terrifying me with the wooden doll perched on my closet door. I have published three chapbooks and serve on the board of the Council for Wisconsin Writers. I am also English language editor for Poetry Hall: A Chinese and English Bilingual Journal.
What Falls From the Closet
When the whole family gathered at the Thanksgiving table we’d laugh at all the things that had come falling or swooping out of closets. All of us together, this one time each year to recount the outrageous pranks and laugh until we cried, even the victims among us. There were black rubber bats on strings squealing from the dark or creepy clowns you thought had been thrown away and that time my mother perched the metal-jointed wooden doll with her peeling face on top of my almost-closed closet door so that Felicity seemed to lunge at me when I flung the door open, her sharp little hands beating at my temples as she rocked back and forth before clumsily thumping to the floor. The closet pranks started before I was born when Pop Pop pretended to leave for work then crept upstairs to hide in the bedroom closet until Nana opened it and he rigidly toppled on her like a proper stiff. We gathered ‘round the table and held hands while Pop Pop recited his Latin grace. The food was warm and savory with its palette of late fall colors tipping into winter and always enough so we could savor and relish stories of the unexpected. Funny how each family cultivates its own version of crazy its own way of bracing for what the world has in store.
©2020 Sylvia Cavanaugh
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