Construction of a Pie
by Judy Clarence

My mother cuts lard into flour with two sharp knives.
The dough molds smoothly into balls.
She flattens the balls on a floured breadboard,
moves the rolling pin from center to the edge
in strong, steady strokes.
She measures the circle’s width with an empty pie pan,
rolls the dough deftly onto the pin,
folds it over the pan, pats it neatly into the plate,
pours the filling in, rolls out the top crust,
places it atop with practiced hands
and crimps the rim expertly with forefinger,
pushing the dough between a finger, thumb.
finger. An hour in the oven. And, much later,
“The crust is tough,” she says. She’s right.

I cut butter into the flour with two sharp knives.
It takes forever. I grow impatient, try to form
the squamous, shattered mess into a ball. It falls apart.
“The center cannot hold,” as Yeats has said.
“Mere anarchy” results in chunks that will not join
the whole. Solid, obstinate. Too stiff to roll.
All my arms’ strength inadequate as I push
the rolling pin forth and back, forth and out,
angrier with every stroke. At last
I have the semblance of a crust. I try
to place it in the pan. Again, it falls apart.
I patch and paste, push and shove until it looks
a little like a pie crust. In goes the gooey filling,
blueberries like soft purple marbles, smelling of cinnamon.
More struggles with the top crust. No hope of lacy latticework.
No hope of crimping. An hour in the oven. My son says, “This
is the best pie ever!” Our tongues savor every perfect flake.


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