November 25, 2012 in Features

American Life in Poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-’06

Here’s a poem for this season by Tim Nolan, of Minnesota. Once we begin to be thankful for things, there are more and more things to be thankful for.


Thanks for the Italian chestnuts — with their

tough shells — the smooth chocolaty

skin of them — thanks for the boiling water —

itself a miracle and a mystery —

thanks for the seasoned sauce pan

and the old wooden spoon — and all

the neglected instruments in the drawer —

the garlic crusher — the bent paring knife —

the apple slicer that creates six

perfect wedges out of the crisp Haralson —

thanks for the humming radio — thanks

for the program on the radio

about the guy who was a cross-dresser—

but his wife forgave him — and he

ended up almost dying from leukemia —

(and you could tell his wife loved him

entirely — it was in her deliberate voice) —

thanks for the brined turkey —

the size of a big baby — thanks —

for the departed head of the turkey —

the present neck — the giblets

(whatever they are) — wrapped up as

small gifts inside the cavern of the ribs —

thanks — thanks — thanks — for the candles

lit on the table — the dried twigs —

the autumn leaves in the blue Chinese vase —

thanks — for the faces — our faces — in this low light.

Poem copyright 2012 by Tim Nolan from “And Then” (New Rivers Press), and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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