They were brown, the set of plates
my mom bought for special occasions
when I was nine. They had a big turkey
in the middle of the plate, and there was
a very large platter, big enough to hold
the huge birds she would cook
at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I remember my baby sister, in her high chair,
holding a big turkey drumstick. I remember
the time my mother cooked a ham and
decorated it with pineapple tidbits
and marachino cherries, each secured
by a toothpick all over the surface.
It looked like something out of a magazine.
My mom was proud.
The table had been my father's father's.
It had two large folding leaves that we pulled up
for large gatherings, and rounded legs
we knocked our knees against all our lives.
My mother loved cooking big dinners,
but by the time the meal was on the table
she was too tired to eat them and would soon
waft away to her room and dive into
her detective magazines.
"AHHHHHHHHHH!" she would groan with pleasure
and satisfaction, sinking down on her bed. And now
I do that, too, feeling the sweet relief of being prone,
pain and fatigue held at bay once more, till morning.
A memory, sparked by Mary's poem "How They Come Back"