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Observing Thanksgiving
by Donna Wahlert

One part lard, three parts flour,
the ball of dough sits on the floured board..
It will be rolled, patted into a tin,
pinched and thumbed into a fluted
ring that will hold the pumpkin
filling like a golden brown crown.

She creams butter and honey colored
sugar, whips the eggs and milk,
gently folds in pureed pumpkin,
anoints with the sacred spices:
cinnamon, mace, hand-grated
nutmeg, a fleck of ancient sea salt.

The recipe, handed down to her
by her mother, the housekeeper
of a stately Missouri mansion,
calls for a few jiggers of bourbon.
She splashes it in, tastes, pours, bakes.
If wine can become an altar sacrament,
a grail of bourbon in a pumpkin pie
can mark the holiness of the harvest.


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