Poetry: My Mother Gives Me Her Recipe

My moth­er gives me her recipe
by Marge Piercy

Take some flour. Oh, I don’t know,
like two-three cups, and you cut
in the but­ter. Now some women
they make it with shortening,
but I say but­ter, even though
that means you had to have fish, see?

You cut up some apples. Not those
stu­pid sweet ones. Apples for the cake,
they have to have some bite, you know?
A lit­tle sour in the sweet, like love.
You slice them into lit­tle moons.
No, no! Like half or crescent
moons. You aren’t listening.

You mix sug­ar and cin­na­mon and cloves,
some women use all­spice, till it’s dark
and you stir in the apples. You coat
every lit­tle moon. Did I say you add
milk? Oh, just till it feels right.
Use your hands. Milk in the cake part!

Then you pat it into a pan, I like
round ones, but who cares?
I for­got to say you add bak­ing powder.
Did I for­get a lit­tle lemon on the apples?
Then you just bake it. Well, till it’s done
of course. Did I remem­ber you place
the apples in rows? You can make
a pat­tern, like a weave. It’s pretty
that way. I like things pretty.

It’s just a sim­ple cake.
Any fool can make it
except your aunt. I
gave her the recipe
but she never
got it right.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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