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Giving Thanks During the War
Matthew Hotham

Dinner was Cajun chicken
served by a Vietnamese family
next to the Victorian carousel.
Surly teenagers grumped past, hunched
in the umbrae of their mothers' hysterical joy.
The evening film had a purely evil villain—
he was born to want the hero dead.
The hero frolicked, now and then stopped to sigh
why me? It was like real life, but with wands.
The whole family crunched dry popcorn,
even extra butter couldn't help.
The girl at the counter had not smiled
when slipped 4 coupons.
Outside, telephone lines sparkled
and sagged under the weight of icicles
accumulating like debt. In the glass elevator,
two guards wished each other be careful
out there before exiting to opposing sides
of the food court.