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  You could have a big dipper   

Nightswimmer Junior, Home for Thanksgiving by Todd Mercer

Anyone with sense holds back

from jumps off break-walls into swirling storm waters.

The waves can smack you back up against them

scrape you over the rip-rap boulders

not far under the shifting surface.

Except me, I can’t skip challenges.

Maybe that’s why I traveled to a contentious

Turkey Day, battle royale of familiar co-antagonists,

united by blood, marriage, co-habitation

more than common mores, views on political news.

Sensed a circus, should’ve sent regrets. Instead

I armed myself with a pale shadow

of my Grandma’s ginger ale Jello. Walked in

partly optimistic, but hedged, parked pointing away

where no one could block me in. I left my shoes on.

Minutes in an eager beaver dove deep, mentioned Congress.

Like they came to sabotage it—the holiday truce. The meal.

Adults shucked their kid gloves. In a jif two tribes formed up—

Peaceniks versus Nationalists. The two oldest professions.

Fuel to fire, of course, and those already drinking

only drank faster. Each dishonest Straw Man theory

projected unsupported beyond the previous.

preposterous claim. And on like that, again.

Anyone with sense would kiss their mother

on the way out with their Jello,

volunteer to work on holidays.


Todd Mercer’s short collection, Ingenue, won the Celery City contest. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, was edited by Laura M. Kaminski and is available for free at Right Hand Pointing. Recent work appears in Blink Ink, Fictive Dream, and Six Sentences.

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