Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving
My mother framed the Rockwell painting.
That image of matriarch in white apron
setting down white platter
with turkey large enough to feed
all the smiling faces at the table.
Everyone’s eyes gleam with affection
anticipating a meal as delectable as manna.
Every mouth is happy to heap praise
as generously as they spoon mashed potatoes.
No one longs to be anywhere else
with anyone else.
“It’s the way it’s supposed to be,”
my mother often said with red nose
and wet handkerchief
as year after year
her dining room bore no resemblance
to Norman Rockwell’s painting,
particularly the pleased patriarch
standing behind his wife.
The picture hangs on my wall, too,
as I sit at an undressed table
to eat cold cereal with a book
written by a family therapist
happy to explain
why idealized images
If you stick a needle
in a hyper-irritable spot,
taut muscles will relax,
my therapist says.
I laugh at his silly plan.
Better to tease a tiger
than poke the pain.
My therapist insists.
Find the trigger. Stick
a needle in the spot.
Push till you feel
your grief twist
Disrupt the spasm
pinching the nerve
tighter and tighter.
“Dry Needling” appears in Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press.
Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String (Winner, Helen Kay Chapbook Prize 2016). Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Burgeon, Gargoyle, Beltway Poetry, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Little Patuxent Review, and The Broadkill Review. Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com where you will see that she is also the author of 40 books for young readers including the Zapato Power series and Never Say a Mean Word Again.
Photo by Joe Mabel [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons