The morning my grandfather died
I dreamed we gathered at the kitchen
table and ate him. It was a joyful
feast. My sister and I carried him in
on a silver platter the size of a stretcher
and he looked exactly like a trussed-up
chicken, headless and at rest.
We plucked through the hot bones
that burnt our fingertips, searching out
the brightest cuts of meat. It was easy
to devour him. Each of us took
a portion and kept him in our belly,
the organ right under the organ
that hurt upon waking.
After the funeral we ate another feast,
this time to his memory. It was not
as satisfying, though. The green
beans and macaroni sat limp and
dull in my mouth. The chicken tasted
I should have known. A memory
is an off-brand imitation
never as savory
as the real thing.
Ashley Hutson lives in rural Western Maryland. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, The Conium Review, Threadcount, and elsewhere. Find her at www.aahutson.com.