Avra Elliott

Making Grandpa’s Stuffing
by Avra Elliott

an elegy

Digging ice from a turkey’s neck
to excavate it from the cavity
is what I thought surgery must be like,

frozen fingers, and the satisfaction
of pulling a bag of organs and twisted neck
free from ribs dyed pink with blood.

Dick and balls, my mother labeled them,
but even as a child I knew that balls
were in twos, and these deep fleshy stones

were more fascinating, more valued (I still
love the sensation of dicing livers with
knives).But I’ll say the neck is a dick.

As a child I knew bodies are
warm, surgeries aren’t feasts, deaths
are months of survivors

sharing body heat on winter nights
and a relative’s hard turkey neck
pressed against you when he hugs, hands

ever slipping under your fuzzy purple sweater
under lights by a lake where he apologizes
once, but in surprise, as though he also doesn’t

know why this happens. When the turkey has
died there is no funeral. No one will pay. No

one will come.

and this removal isn’t what you expected,

like reaching into a cavity and finding nothing
but an icy pink hollow.
Freeze that burns.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Avra ElliottAvra Elliott is a writer and toymaker from New Mexico. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, Elliott’s fiction has been published in Sweet Tree Review, Shadowgraph Quarterly and Noctua Review where she was runner-up for the Neo Americana Fiction Contest. Her chapbook, Desert Selkie, was a semifinalist for the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and her poetry has appeared in Tinderbox, Tupelo Quarterly, Jam Tarts, llanot Review, Red Paint Hill, Birds Piled Loosely, Indianapolis Review, Barrow Street and Fairy Tale Review.

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