On Baking and Other Things
That tentative moment
Eyeing colossal heaps of flour
Towering where you
Restrain your hands
Soldierly standing in a single square
On a checkerboard floor, awaiting instruction.
Later, you learned that the instructions
Your mother gave were, for a moment,
About lemon squares
Until, dusted with infatuation and flour,
You buried your hands
In a mess of cookie dough, for a boy you
Loved and whose touch once promised to love you.
But, despite how deeply we wish, instructions
For reassembling raspberry tarts are not handed
Out in these moments
As you escape to leveled cups of flour
And peanut butter bars, perfectly square
and neatly stacked.  Squarely,
You sat with a friend, and you
Divulged the appropriate amount of flour
For brownies she would lace with pot.  With these instructions
You enjoy a moment
Vicariously while, trembling with the heft of a pie, your hand
Delivers a message of celebration to the square
Table, containing a moment
As buttery and golden as your
Pastry, as if a magician instructed
You in alchemy, transforming flour
White, like the lilies, patient angels.  These flowers
Dense with death, handle
Grief with grace, as if instructed,
While you square
Off with the fear that follows you,
Fear of missing your moment
Free of instruction yet filled with flour,
A moment for your hands
To make lemon squares just for you
Marcella Vokey
Published in Issue 32