Poetry: Recipes


Words by Janet McCann

I took too many shortcuts, I would
substitute anything for anything.
Today’s Unpeeled Apple Pie
follows the recipe mostly, but in
the oven, it looks like a dumpster.
My mind slips back seventy years
to my mother’s kitchen. She cooked
precisely but not well. I remember
her telling the mild, distinguished guest
all that she’d done to tenderize the roast.
He liked it and her, because she had
charm, but I pictured mallet, white
powder, raw beef. Grandmother baked pies
using bacon grease. After so many years
we almost liked it.  I come from
a long line of bad cooks, passing along
a greasy copy of The Joy. I always
took too many shortcuts and left
things out, but now with words
it’s hard to tell for sure, there’s no written
measure of the distance between what
I said, and what I wished to say.

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