Pie Crust

May 11, 2022

PIE CRUST (Updated 8.25.22)

“Pie Crust”

“Pie Crust” was one of my first poems. For anyone who saw the first cut, you’ll see I’ve taken a deeper dive in the true pain of the competitive relationship with my mom…which yielded a profound space in my heart for her.

Writing is not for the faint of heart – in fact, the heart is the matter!



It all started with the neighbor’s rhubarb

“Would you like some?” “Oh, yes … I love rhubarb”

Childhood memories of late summer stalks, sun-drenched bitter goodness

And an entire grocery bag full was handed over the fence.


Until that day, flour had never dusted my counter.

Mom was the pie maker – and a fierce competitor.

I stayed in my lane.

Perfected chocolate chip cookies

(The ones Dad liked.)


She stayed in hers –

…pies, homemade cinnamon rolls, gidgy-gadgets,

Pineapple upside down to die for…

Cookies were for rookies.


But there it was – like a taunt from the Universe

An invitation to disrupt my inner order

Make a pie crust from scratch

…and fill it with this late summer,

perfectly ripe rhubarb.


I miss her pies.


She’s been gone for years now.

Never a pie-baking lesson shared

We walked a wide path around each other.

Short of overhearing hints about mixing Crisco with butter

And glimpsing over her shoulder

as she layered left-over dough with butter and cinnamon sugar…

A “Cinnamon Scrap Pie” she called it.

My favorite.


Now, girded with self-discipline

Warding off insistent-doubt and in-coming fears

Of what she might think or feel

I googled “best pie crust for beginners.”


Laid icepacks on the counter to cool the granite

And began…

Combining dry ingredients, cutting-in the solids with my fingers

The way she would… standing over a cutting board

(The one Dad made.)


Cold water taken from a glass dribbled from her fingers

To get just-the-right-feel

Something, she insisted, no recipe could provide.

A potter handling clay.


Brought out her much-used 1940’s rolling pin

I had tossed in the back of a drawer.

The original green painted handles

Now cracked and peeled – testament to many a scrub.

A remnant from Mom’s kitchen…

Handles in hands,

I began to roll.


As did my tears.


I took a picture of that first pie…

Shimmery golden crust, fresh from the oven.

Shared it with the neighbors –

It was delicious!


Kept the little stack of sweet, flakey scraps

For myself.


What she lacked in tenderness for a sensitive child

She muscled through with grit and gristle.

My heart was often the casualty.


Perhaps tortured by an indelible haunting

After losing her first within hours of birth…

Never encouraged to meet or hold her.


She returned home empty handed

Arms aching from what was missing

She doubled-down,

Determined that one-day

There would be joys in motherhood.


Only to learn how her future child would expose

Every day

The never-forgotten pain and unhealed wound.

She closed the bedroom door on tears

Chastised hand-prints on the walls

Leaving us both painfully alone.

The once hoped-for joys –



She’s been gone for years.

I pat memories with butter

And sprinkle with cinnamon sugar…

Just as she did with those cast-off pieces of dough.


Fashioning something worth keeping…

Out of the cut-away snippets another might have tossed.

The few shared moments left behind –

Turned into a sweet heap of belonging.


My first pie –

Made with her grit.



Unfathomable Moments: Part III
Clare Island Adventures....


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