Purple – Suzanne Crain Miller


The year we had our first Thanksgiving

The one where you’d sit beside my sister’s black boyfriend

our turkey was purple.

A mishap of marinating it in apple cider in a

purple pillow case.

I called you that morning in a frenzy

asking if you thought the dye would bake out.

You answered yes and it did for the most part,

but as we sat across from each other, you could see the

thigh was still a deep purple, off color as it were.

My sister’s boyfriend, now her husband,

still teases me about that purple turkey.

We laugh when remembering that day.

What we don’t do is talk about how you

demonized him, terrorized her, theorized that he was not like us,

or no, it wasn’t that, you’d never go so far as to say that.

It was that he would not make her life easier.

That people would not treat her the same

and if they ever had kids, granted, 

you had no idea that my sister would never want to have kids

no matter what color they’d be,

the kids would not have an easy life. 

This baffled me in that our lives had not been easy

just because we were white,

easier than some, yes, but not easy overall.

And it blew my mind that you thought he,

this man who’d taken her from the arms of users, and abusers,

would do anything but make her life better.

but you didn’t know him.

You only knew his color, you only saw skin deep.

No one ate the purple turkey thigh.

The lone one where the dye hadn’t baked out.

I can still see it there in the bottom of the trash can.

A perfectly good turkey leg, discarded only because of its hue.