The sweet smells of cinnamon and cornbread
waft through the streets for a week
before the big day, women and men
sifting ingredients from memories
passed down for generations.
Reef Smith holds the record for farthest visitor.
His sixth grandchild travels from Michigan
every third year, no matter the weather.
Sally Hanes, who lives alone with two poodles,
invites all the singles from three different churches,
her unused kitchen feeding upwards of thirty
this day each year. The ninth grade class
holds its annual scavenger hunt tourney,
excited teams of boys and girls scurrying
from house to house to ask for such trinkets
as red dice and hair pins, their greedy fingers
sticky with the treats of pumpkin cookies
and blueberry bars that adults gratefully
place into their hands.
By noon, all televisions are tuned
to the waning minutes of parades,
mouths salivating for turkey and games
pounded out on artificial turf.
In days, leftovers of leftovers long
forgotten, the neighbors watch each other
string lights on rooftops and along bushes,
mouths watering in anticipation of gingerbread
and the promise of the greatest
gift of all.
April 13, 2015