{11•22 gratitudinous}

In 2019, poet Amy Schmidt opined in the “Poets Respond” section of Rattle online that no one could feel lonely when zesting an orange. Today, prepping for my cranberry salsa, I see her orange and raise her lime and ginger.

When the house is filled with the scents of tradition – well-loved meals and old recipes, it is hard not to be kept company by the memories of past holiday. Meals savored and empty platters, empty tables left with a confetti of crumbs, past times with friends, past celebrations and anticipations – and perhaps past hopes and anxieties, too. It’s a little bit crowded in the kitchen just now — swirling as it is with the many ghosts of meals gone by, holidays past, and the aching memories of absent loved ones pressing close to us.

kneaded into loaves
and simmered through every sauce,
voices long absent
dearly beloved and gathered
a fragrant cloud of witness

Those who are facing a “first Thanksgiving since…” this year, know you are not alone in your loss.