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Barbara Crooker

To make good gravy, you must be patient,
let the juice settle to the bottom, let the fat
float to the top in all its golden light. Skim
it with a thin spoon, take its measure. Equal
it with flour, sprinkle with salt, speckle
with pepper. Stir constantly in the roasting pan,
making figure eights with a wooden spoon.
Scrape off strips of skin, bits of meat; incorporate
them in the mixture, like a difficult uncle
or the lonely neighbor invited out of duty.
Keep stirring. Hand the wooden baton
to one of your daughters; it’s time for her
to start learning this music, the bubble and
seethe as it plays the score. One minute
at the boil, then almost like magic, it’s gravy,
a rich velvet brown. Thin it with broth,
stir in chopped giblets, then pour into
its little boat, waiting with mouth open.
Take up your forks, slide potatoes, stuffing,
gravy, into your mouth, hum under your breath.
Oh, the holy family of gravy, all those
little odd bits and pieces, the parts that could
be discarded, but aren’t; instead, transformed
into a warm brown blanket that makes
delicious every thing it covers.
From Line Dance (Word Press, 2008).
Used with the author’s permission.

Barbara Crooker’s award-winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies and have been featured on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), The Writer's Almanac, and in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress. Recipient of many fellowships and residencies in the U.S., as well as in Ireland and France, she was also a Grammy finalist for her part in the audio version of the popular anthology, Grow Old Along with Me--the Best is Yet to Be. Barbara lives in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Learn more about Barbara at





Post New Comment:
yummm. Even the day after T'giving this is perfect.
Posted 11/23/2012 08:41 AM
"incorporate them in the mixture, like a difficult uncle or the lonely neighbor invited out of duty"...let me be the third person here to call out those lines! Love this poem, Barbara. Happy Thanksgiving to all my USAmerican neighbours!
Posted 11/22/2012 12:04 PM
Barbara, you are a gift to my and grace in everything, even the holy family of gravy. Thanks on Thanksgiving for sharing your gifts so generously.
Posted 11/22/2012 11:35 AM
Marilyn L Taylor:
Ah, Barbara, "Gravy"! Smooth and rich.
Posted 11/22/2012 09:45 AM
Wilda Morris:
Delightful. I, too, love the line "incorporate the difficult uncle or the lonely neighbor invited out of duty." Also the passing of the baton and the "bubble and seethe of it." Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted 11/22/2012 09:14 AM
I love this poem, especially where you say to ...incorporate like a difficult uncle or the lonely neighbor invited out of duty...!!
Posted 11/22/2012 09:06 AM
"Gravy" is every bit as good as it was when I first read it. Thank's for this re-issue--the perfect poem for the day!
Posted 11/22/2012 07:43 AM

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