bittersweet flavor

my dad obsessed over

 

present at Christmas,

church potlucks, and

political family dinners

 

a bane on my childhood

 

in my coming of age

I cut pieces out at midnight

and savored what I swore

I detested

 

older and farther away

I recalled my mother in the kitchen

stirring a steaming pot

 

on the phone

alone in my room

What would you like to eat when you come home?

Chocolate Pie.

 

home for a week

I watch my mother’s hands stir ingredients

like it is the first time

like I am a child

discovering speech

 

across the kitchen

under the pale light

I witness creation

and the creator

 

a steady force

cooking in the morning

at 6:30 in the evening

after work and

before sunrise

 

practiced creations

made by hands that hurt

hands that ached

hands that every medication

tried to numb

 

the final product 

forever free from the ruins of toil

and the tasting of buried grief

 

at my car waiting to leave

desperate to stay

Don’t you want to take some with you when you go back?

 

the pie is wrapped up

packaged gently

like an organ

like a part

 

her hands 

palm up before me

tense from the triple effort

needed to use them

 

an offering

of all she cannot give

and all she cannot say—

of all she wants for me

and all she sees in me

 

meeting her eyes

I say sure

she says okay

 

By Kallen Mohr

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