Halloween – Mac Hammond

The butcher knife goes in, first, at the top
And carves out the round stemmed lid,

The hole of which allows the hand to go 

In to pull the gooey mess inside, out –

The walls scooped clean with a spoon.

A grim design decided on, that afternoon,

The eyes are the first to go,

Isosceles or trapezoid, the square nose,

The down-turned mouth with three

Hideous teeth and, sometimes,

Round ears. At dusk it’s

Lighted, the room behind it dark.

Outside, looking in, it looks like a 

Pumpkin, it looks like ripeness

Is all. Kids come, beckoned by

Fingers of shadows on leaf-strewn lawns

To trick or treat. Standing at the open

Door, the sculptor, a warlock, drops

Penny candies into their bags, knowing

The message of winter: only the children,

Pretending to be ghosts, are real. 

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Thanksgiving – Mac Hammond 

The man who stands above the bird, his knife
Sharp as a Turkish scimitar, first removes

A thigh and leg, half the support

On which the turkey used to stand. This

Leg and thigh he sets on an extra

Plate. All his weight now on 

One leg, he lunges for the wing, the wing

On the same side of the bird from which

He has just removed the leg and thigh.

He frees the wing enough to expose

The breast, the wing not severed but

Collapsed down to the platter. One hand

Holding the fork, piercing the turkey

Anywhere, he now beings to slice the breast,

Afflicted by small pains in his chest,

A kind of heartburn for which there is no 

Cure. He serves the hostess breast, her 

Own breast rising and falling. And so on,

Till all the guests are served, the turkey

Now a wreck, the carver exhausted, a

Mere carcass of his former self. Everyone

Says thanks to the turkey carver and begins

To eat, thankful for the cold turkey

And the Republic for which it stands.