Years ago—I still remember: final Thursday in November, I was in my kitchen cooking food to rival feasts of yore; To and fro sashaying, hopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, chopping, Dish by dish—no time for stopping, for so daunting was the chore: Playing hostess for Thanksgiving—such a monumental chore ____I had never faced before. Busying myself with basting, reading recipes, and tasting, I was filled with gratitude for all the things that I adore. Blithely counting every blessing, I prepared some cornbread dressing, Barely wond’ring, never guessing what the future had in store; Thankful for both past and present, what the future had in store ____On this day I could ignore. When at last I’d finished baking, how my lower back was aching! Yet my heart was filled with gladness, and my face a smile wore: After hours of preparation, it was time for celebration, And with great anticipation I received folks at the door; Jubilant anticipation as I opened wide the door ____To the guests I’d labored for. Round the table, bright and perky, we all dined on roasted turkey, Squash, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, bread, and casseroles galore. Soon our appetites were slowing; nonetheless we kept on going, In our swelling bellies stowing two desserts, or three, or four— So much succulent dessert, we had to eat, like, three or four, ____Till our stomachs were quite sore. Then all those who still were able helped me—clearing off the table, Bringing back into the kitchen ample leftovers to store. Next: what could be fitter closing than to celebrate by dozing? Soon the guests were all reposing on the sofas and the floor, Nodding, napping, sweetly dreaming on the sofas and the floor. ____Who could ever ask for more? This I pondered, reminiscing: not one thing desired was missing; Such abundance chased away the slightest thought of being poor. Suddenly, I had the notion there was something still in motion ‘Mid the softly slumbering ocean and its low collective roar; Yes, I thought I’d heard a noise above the low collective roar ____That was not just one more snore. Then—most clearly—something rustled; to my feet I leapt and hustled (Or I tried to hustle, rather, dodging dreamers on the floor) To the kitchen, quickly bounding, stopping short with heart a-pounding When I spied the most astounding sight before my icebox door: An enormous turkey vulture tugging at my icebox door ____Was the sound I’d heard before. Ah, this bird was sure no craven (out-sized any crow or raven That had ever fluttered through the grandest poetry of yore)— Wasting not a moment perching, awkwardly the thing was lurching Through my kitchen, bobbing, searching for some carcasses to score; Just a bold, brash buzzard seeking some fresh carcasses to score— ____Or, perhaps, a petit four? Bothered by this home invasion; loath to let it spoil th’ occasion— Such were my conflicting feelings as I viewed the brutish boor. So I mustered up some caring, genuine, unselfish sharing For this feathered fowl, whose daring search had brought it to implore; This vile vulture, which had come some light refreshment to implore— ____How could I his plight ignore? There he stood, his feathers puffing, watching as I served him stuffing, Bones, and giblets heaped together (to resemble natural gore), And, when I had finished styling thus the food that I was piling, I could swear the bird was smiling as he ravenously tore— With a shocking lack of manners—through those turkey scraps he tore. ____Then that beast said, “Gimme more!” “Please and thank you, bird,” I grumbled, and some more choice words I mumbled, But the creature, quite unflustered, could not grasp why I was sore. Then, ere I had finished scolding, that large vulture, wings unfolding, Offered me what he’d been holding—dumped it, rather, on the floor: Ads and flyers, discounts, coupons, scattered there upon my floor ____With their message: Gimme more! Such obnoxious advertising on this day was most surprising (This day, set apart for stating all that we are thankful for); Every miracle of science, every gadget and appliance, Dazzling in their defiance of my gladness heretofore; Countless items challenging the gladness I had heretofore, ____Whisp’ring to me, “gimme more.” Shocked into dissatisfaction (yet ashamed of my reaction), Paralyzed, I stood and ogled ads from every shop and store, Till a drowsy guest, half-waking from the nap that she was taking, Spoke, the wretched silence breaking—spoke the words that could restore; Though she murmured, still half-sleeping, yet my sense she could restore— ____“Thanks,” she sighed, “I need no more”— Uttered out of peaceful dreaming, welcome words, like beacons, beaming, Shining, scattering the darkness of the greed I so abhor. “This is more than I can swallow: having things, but feeling hollow. Out they go, and you will follow!” said I, as each ad I tore— Each and every advertisement littering my floor I tore. ____Still the bird croaked, “Gimme MORE!” “Beastly bird!” Now I was yelling, “I don’t want a thing you’re selling. I’m quite satisfied, I tell you; I am happy to the core! All this junk, although you love it, I am in no mood to covet— You can take your greed and shove it! You’re becoming quite a bore.” And that rude, red-headed buzzard (who was really quite a bore) ____Yet protested, “Gimme more!” “Liar,” howled I, “foul deceiver!” and I wildly waved my cleaver, “Take your greedy ‘gimme’ gospel to some far off, distant shore. I am through with being bullied! Leave my happiness unsullied, Disappear from my life fully—darken nevermore my door. Take your greed from out my house, and take yourself out through my door; ____Bring your ‘gimme more’ no more!” Only thus—with threats and shouting, and some fierce invective spouting— Did I manage to escort the feathered felon out the door. Rid of his repulsive squealing, my attention turned to healing And recovering the feeling of contentment from before— All the peace and satisfaction that was filling me before ____He first grunted, “Gimme more.” Off he flew into the morrow, luring folks to spend and borrow, So this holiday I merely nearly managed to restore: Ever since—it’s most appalling—once a year the bird comes calling, And its flight on Friday falling clouds the day we’re thankful for— Yes, its evil shadow falling back on all we’re thankful for ____Shall be lifted—nevermore. Anna J. Arredondo grew up in Pennsylvania, where she fell in love with poetry from a young age. After living in Mexico for six years, during which time she met and married her husband, she returned to Pennsylvania for one more decade. An engineer by education, home educator by choice, and poet by preference, she relocated in 2017 and currently resides in Westminster, CO with her husband and three school-age children. Anna has recently had poems published in The Lyric and Time of Singing.