The Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving I left the house to run errands—only to spot a large, brown mass huddled in the snow underneath my front bushes. It turned out to be a wild turkey. And it wasn’t moving. Call me a stereotypical literature professor, attuned to symbolism at every turn, but a dead turkey two days before Thanksgiving seemed like a rather bad sign. I began talking to it—as you do with errant fowl in your front yard—and slowly it lifted its head.