Rob Taylor is the author of the poetry collections The News (Gaspereau Press, 2016) and The Other Side of Ourselves (Cormorant Books, 2011), along with four chapbooks. His poems, short stories and essays have appeared in more than fifty journals and anthologies, including The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, Event and Geist. In 2015 he received the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for the Literary Arts, as an emerging artist. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and son, where he coordinates the Dead Poets Reading Series and teaches creative writing at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Seven Weeks – Rob Taylor

Each year, Thanksgiving and Christmas,
I make the cranberry sauce. Everyone
around the table agrees it’s the best
they’ve ever had, even those
who used to swear by the canned stuff.
I used to swear by the canned stuff.

At first everyone assumed your mother
made it, but she would always clarify.
Now they ask how I do it and I say
I follow the instructions on the bag.
They ask what I put in it and I say
water and sugar and cranberries.

Every Thanksgiving it’s the same,
then, amazingly, again each Christmas—
something to fill the spaces between mouthfuls.
When we tell them about you this Christmas
they’re going to lose their minds. Then once
they’ve calmed down we’ll go back to eating

and maybe later they’ll ask about the cranberry sauce
and I’ll say Instructions Water Sugar Cranberries.
Or maybe we’ll just keep talking about you
until it seems we’ve conjured you from our dreams
and you’re there, flesh and blood, in the room,
which of course you will be.

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