A Cousin Asks for a Recipe for My Mother's Peach Pie

A Cousin Asks for a Recipe for My Mother’s Peach Pie


In my mind, there is still
that fruity smudge
grazing the taste buds,
the glazed confection that once
jangled the sweet tooth
of any summer visitor or host.

The peach trees still spread
their blossoms and stones
over the dessert plates
of a history more sad than sugar,
of pie crusts pricked to vent
the ripening steam.

My mother’s hand
was a sometimes glad hand
back-tracing the small stains
that betrayal had carved
into her rolling pin’s wood.

Her fingertips pressed into the dough,
crimping the crust, crisscrossing
the doughy strips into ladders
of a tart collusion of peeled crescents
and lemon zest
that soon melted along the back
of the tongue
before it was lost
in the acid churn
of the gut.

And yet they still spring their legends,
those delectable wedges
doled out in summer idylls
by pond or bay or in the thicket
of suburban smog
even if she
has lost herself in the small vapors
and wisps that time turns to film
on the bottom of a glass pie plate
that can never be scraped
utterly clean.

A machinist for over twenty years, Tom Daley leads writing workshops online and in the Boston area. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, Fence, Crazyhorse, Witness, and elsewhere. His first book, House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, was published by FutureCycle Press.