There will always be

Only one Thanksgiving for me,

With you at the head of the table.

I spent the day cooking in your kitchen,

Reading recipes and replacing parts

So they didn’t bring you more pain

Than the cancer

That had yellowed your skin

And hollowed your bones,

Causing you to cry out in your sleep.

But as soon as the food was served

And we found our seats,

You reached for your camera,

And took one last photo of us all

Gathered around your table—

The one you bought at Eugene’s Saturday Market

And Brizz trucked across the continent in a moving van,

With nine-year-old Peter riding shotgun,

Up and over the Rockies and across the Great Plains

To our new home in Maine.

We’d once roasted a turkey in their Oregon tepee.

How long it took to cook!

And how we all laughed when Peter’s little brother, Puffer, raised his hands and cried,

“Praise the Lord!” when it was finally time to eat.

Now, more than three decades and many moves later,

We sat at this same table

For one Last Supper.

And despite the failed treatments

And the weakness that crippled your legs,

Causing you to name them—

“Trusting in Jesus,” I believe one was,

And “Faith,” might have been the other—

So you could command each to move

The way the Son had said we’d be able to move mountains,

You offered thanks before we ate.

Too tired for dessert,

And with no appetite,

You left your untouched pie on your plate

And excused yourself from the table

To climb the stairs to bed,

Each creak of the wooden treads

A reminder that you were leaving us.