Thanksgiving yum yuma table of food and relativesa table of brown— turkey, gravy, stuffing, breadfall leaves, brownremains of harvest on the field, browngrass in the ditches, brown—we’ve all traveled to be at this big brown table,yumming and yucking it up.
My Uncle Sam, appropriately, talks politicshis son Joseph at his side,fidgeting I’m hotand being shushedwe eat this infinite pile of foodand still li’l Joseph complains I’m hotand Uncle Sam keeps talking about that damn Reaganand Joseph’s mom keeps shushingand we’re bloatingtil finally poor Joseph plum overheatsand makes himself a family legendin one bold act of creation—
At the Thanksgiving table,Joseph vomits.
An incredible puke!Joseph’s ripe stomach, a wee bucket,spouts from his wide mouth,a flying tube o’ food back on his plate,in reverse film slo-mo’ed for all to savor.
And the miracle of it,he didn’t spill a drop.The glob centered on his plate,liquid flowing to the sides but not over,and before Joseph lay a plate of mushy, chunky food,—all brown.
Brown, like fall, brown,like Thanksgiving,Joseph’s plate is brown—and no different from the plates set before us.Forks hang in the air as our eyes go from Joseph’s plate to our own, remarkably similar, andJoseph’s mother, needing something to do, desperately searches for something to wipe up.
Finally, it is Uncle Sam who breaks the hold of the vomitWell, we know how Joseph feels about Reagan, and laughing,we pick up our shovels and bend to it again.