Margo Solod
What We Bring

My fashionista sister creates a photo scrapbook -
My practical sister, Team J t-shirts and hats.
My father will be 80, Frank Sinatra's age, his hero

I make only my way to this Thanksgiving gathering,
this non-celebration all he will permit. Three daughters,
three grandchildren. Not even. I am his child

without children. We'll eat a turkey dinner ready-made
from Kroger, wear the t-shirts and hats, tell stories
pulled from memory by old snapshots. Later,

my sisters will take the children to sales at the mall,
and I will sit with my father, watching football games
that last into the night. He'll ask if I am ok

for money, and I will tell him yes.
Then, silence. I will sit with my father.
What I bring to the table. His daughter.

A Letter From My Aunt Requires Careful Contemplation

You ask me for a wild turkey feather, one
found on the road in the morning as I trail
behind the dogs. Your request demands reflection,

I've a treasure trove of riches. Tail
feather or wing? Or soft down from
a chick who scuttles single- file

behind his mother in the spectral dawn
of spring light; there are ten or more
at first but there's a high attrition

rate. Hawks, maybe the cougar
we have never seen yet track hopefully
in the first fresh snow each winter.

As they grow their numbers steady,
and by fall the only way to tell the chicks
from the adults is by how easily

they startle. It's been almost six
years since we had a hunter on the land,
(how long can turkey memory exist?).

The mothers do not leave the road
until they're ready, not for anything,
the truck, the dogs; we slow our stride

to their pace until a stand of ripening
wild grape or autumn olive tempts
them back into the woods. How to bring

these sights and sounds and scents
to you when you can barely leave
your house, a careful turn about

the garden, jacketed and booted even
in the summer's heat. The walkers
and their dogs go past you on the street

and you can only watch. After
careful contemplation, I pack
the largest, brightest tail feather

between four postcards back to back,
old women smiling at one
another and at you. In your hands this lack

of explanation will be fine. Stories often
tell themselves to you. This feather
will summon woods and roads; then

you'll see me and the dogs, and -just there -
that early morning light that helps to weave
this plume of tales together.