Her Rolling Pin


Another poem that is in the works. The final poem will probably look different from this first draft. Any comments? Any suggestions? Any confusion? Any questions?

My Mother’s Rolling Pin

The wood is rich, warm, almost oily,
from years of shaping pie dough, the lard pressed
deep into its solid core.

Attached are mismatched handles:
one painted red, one of blonde wood.
Surely jerry-rigged by my father to make do for a day.

My mother made pies, especially in summer,
when fruits made their way into her kitchen
in children’s pails and bushel baskets.

But it has been years since she patted dough
on a floured board and set her weight
against the misshapen lump.

She rolled up and down, back and forth.
A sprinkling of flour dusted on a sticking place,
and the dough stretched and gave.

And then the folding and unfolding into the pie tin.
And then into the oven, crust browning, juices
oozing out, scenting the curtains, tugging us in.

I slip my hands around the grooves my mother made.
And then I hear what I’d never heard before.
She was humming: so soft, so sweet, so sure.

Here, then, her brush, her pen, her dance, her song,
her flute, her sculptor’s knife, her poem.
And the artist I never knew.


20 thoughts on “Her Rolling Pin

    1. It was my private play on words only for those who knew my dad. I’m glad you found it. “Jerry-rigged” was the way my dad lived his life — he delighted in making do with what he had on hand.

  1. Wonderful start. I know you always think it could be better but I like it. It reminded me of the time Alan and Dad collected mulberries for one of those pies. Dad brought a cloth with to spread on the ground to collect the fruit that fell after shaking the tree. When they got back to the house Dad was in trouble. The random cloth he grabbed from the house happened to one of Mom’s best white tablecloths.

  2. Fantastic first draft seemed very good to me! Wonderful imagery and brought back lots of memories too. Loved the photo it attracted me instantly. 🙂

  3. Ah, if there is any critique to be made, you will have to do it yourself. This is too beautiful for me to touch. Just lovely, and I like the many implications in the images. . . the oil worked into the solid wood over years. . . it seems to say something about how your mother worked into your own solid self over the years. This is just lovely. Treat it well.

  4. Julia, thank you for sharing such loving and warm memories. Perhaps if you set it aside and look at it much later, you will be less critical of what is already a wonderful poem. 🙂

  5. I love it, it pulled me in and touched my memories. I am wondering if it would be stronger if you left the first stanza off. Those lines felt weak and I almost didn’t continue, but once I got into the rest, it had me hooked. It will be interesting if you edit because whatever I write I always find words or sentence structure to change to make it say exactly what I need it to say. Love the photo with it.

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