Thanksgiving at North Kirkwood Special School for Boys from Issue 72
In the school hallway, autistic children have taped
their photographs to the abdomens of the turkeys.
In unison, the flock’s hypnotic construction-paper consistency
gobbles a template phrase: “…is thankful for…” that connects
each boy to the object of his gratitude. They stare from opposite walls
wild as their bearer birds, tethered to a sentiment perhaps misunderstood
Regardless, one is thankful for high-pitched warning sounds
that commercial-grade trucks make when thrown into reverse.
One child is thankful for high-heeled, open-toed shoes
that may have stepped on recyclables, such as empty milk cartons.
One child is grateful for thumbs. Another is thankful
for other people’s thumbs. One child nodded off during writing his,
and when he awoke, he was still blind. He was Stephen,
a deaf-mute, nearly catatonic boy, who must have come alive
in an electric dream beneath the delicately driven hand of his therapist.
For he had gouged a line through thankful and above it placed
the green waxy letters for whatever he thought lucky must have meant.