Clara stared at the big white bowl of creamy mashed potatoes in front of her, They looked so tasty, she thought, all swirly and hot with a big pat of sunny yellow butter melting rivers into the fluff. She thought she would like to put her face right into the bowl and just eat them right up. The ceramic bowl reminded her of the one her own mother used; she could almost feel the ridges on the side, the heft of it, carrying it with oven mitts to the table. Her mother had made the best mashed potatoes, with a ricer, when people took the time to do such things. Clara could smell the richness of the potatoes, along with the brown gravy, almost burnt, the juicy turkey, the sausage stuffing, the tang of the cranberry sauce, the orange sweetness of the yams, crusty and caramelized. She knew it was a good meal, good food today, different of course. How she wanted to just poke a finger into those beautiful, perfect potatoes and lick her finger, quickly, before the hot burnt her skin. A cloud in a bowl, on a table of white.


“Clara? Clara, honey, do you want some turkey? It’s so good!” Adele bent over Clara, offering up a forkful of meat, after carefully cutting it into tiny pieces. Clara just stared ahead, blue eyes bright but fixed. Adele sighed, and spoke sadly to the shift supervisor, who was standing a few feet away adjusting a crooked “Happy Thanksgiving” sign on the wall. “Kathleen, she just doesn’t want anything today, I guess.”

“Oh, well, Adele, you tried. Maybe she just isn’t hungry now. Dennis can save her plate for later.” Kathleen stepped back, and looked at the sign with her hands on her hips. Good enough.

Adele unlocked the wheels of Clara’s wheelchair, and carefully pulled her back from the table and slowly pushed her down the hall to the dayroom. The Macy’s parade was on the television, a big Thanksgiving turkey balloon floating in the sky there, bound to earth by strings and human hands.