jillypoet: mom trying to write

Each day I wish I had invented waterproof sticky notes (for shower inspiration) or pen-friendly diapers to get down all my quirky thoughts that I am sure are relevant and publishable. And so God (actually another writer-mommy) sent me The Blog.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Still Life: Mother Tying Apron on Daughter

I never wear an apron. I love cookbooks. I love Rachel Ray. My husband, darling husband, culinary daddy, does most of our cooking. I can boil water, but can't seem to manage boiling milk for mashed potatoes (yes, instant) without it boiling over. Is this an unfinished conversation or one that never took place? You, dear reader, be the judge! Mom, you're not allowed to answer!

Still Life: Mother Tying Apron on Daughter

I remember the first time
I heard my mother's
philosophy on life.

We were making brownies
for the Troop Seventeen
Brownie Baking Badge,

a sure-shot to win
since my mother, like
all those tied by apron

strings before her, had
a secret ingredient. A
family recipe, hidden like a

skeleton in a closet
and saved for years until
just the right moment for

telling, the right moment
for tasting. This was a moment
to savor, to suck all the juice from.

It was one of our infrequent
mother-daughter cooking-
fests in her kitchen

that gleamed like a highly
polished fender. Highly
praised for its immaculate

immensity, the enormity of its
bounty, by the neighborhood stay-
at-home women. And why

shouldn't they? The sink with
its chrome-like glow, shining
back at them with the gaze

of a thousand eyes, warped
from the slant of the slender,
dripless, silver faucet.

It was here, among
her Corning and Fiesta-
Ware, her cookies and her fears,

from a stove alive with
gas heat and fire, that she
served my father. Served

him on a table ripe with
the promise of nourishment
and the scent of hunger.

And then here, among the brass
pots and braided placemats,
that she served

me with her secret
for survival. Always
follow your recipe.

If you can read, you
can cook. If you can cook,
you can live.


Blogger Superhero Activist said...

I loved the nostalgia of this poem, of the wisdom shared, much like a recipe, from generation to generation - each in their own distinctive way.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I enjoyed both your poems. If only it were that easy - "if you can read you can cook". I can think of a few things I never got right despite reading the recipe. It might have something to do with patience :)
You don't have to write new poems for the prompts. Often an old one will fit, or it's OK to ignore the prompt altogether, lots of us do. I like to take longer than a couple of days over a poem, anyway.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Cailleach said...

I like the many meanings you can take, just from the title itself!
Lovely poem!

10:38 AM  
Blogger ecm said...

Great poem. I really liked the details of the sink and the kitchen. Great last stanza.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as always, your poetry is so tasty. if your food's not edible, your poetry is! :) i love thinking about women entranced by shiny sinks. so now, do i go off and write more . . . or clean my sink?

12:05 PM  
Blogger KL said...

great lessons here. Lovely poetry.


12:29 PM  
Blogger wendylou who? said...

For me, with the prompts...I try not to look til thursday...and write..boom..on the spot.Some times I cheat...as I am eager to begin. You'll have so much fun with this.It is addictive..I must warn you...Like brownies!!

I liked the firstfew stanza and the last, very best.

1:16 PM  
Blogger twitches said...

I like the rhythm of this, the short choppy stanzas. Nicely done.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous desert rat said...

The title alone is most excellent, I love it.

9:33 PM  
Blogger GreenishLady said...

I took a look at your Monday offering also - those berries! Two beautiful poems. I love that you give the time to your poem, to not rush through to the "conclusion", but bring us through at a pace where we can see and feel and taste what's there. Wonderful. Thank you.

5:24 PM  
Blogger January said...

Great last stanza--words to live by.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

A lovely story told in a very well made poem. And yes I love the tile too!

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A well-crafted poem like this, for me as reader, should evoke emotion and memories. Of my own. This did.

My mother was very much the homemake. Yet she never set out to teach me to cook. Strange. When she was ill in bed, my aunt had a jam tart making session with me in the kitchen below. I was 10. When I was 12, my mother was ill and told me to go and cook dinner. My father came in from work and found me working out how to coat raw liver in flour and fry it. I hadn't got a clue.

Which is why I am a self-taught cook who made sure she showed her sons the basics of kitchen survival.

5:06 PM  

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