After Botched Tarts

There is a secret to baking
which resembles the gardener’s
green thumb

the scientist’s measuring tools
with minute intervals
not enough to transform
sagging dough into dessert

when we were young
our plans to make strawberry shortcake
failed in a pool of brown soupy syrup

my grandfather peered
into the dish and politely poked
What is that?

this was after our grandmother
had died, who used to swell the house
with thick aromas of butter cookies

she was always seen with oven mitts
and studying the dizzying points
of a cross-stitch flower
or cutting the portholes to paper ships

perfection is certainly not enough
nor perhaps an affinity to precision
the way we count or grind out
our days with declining wonder

does not in effect add up
to how we recall our past selves
grandpa forgetting who he was
got lost on his walks to the store

and I am only sorry
I was not older and better then

my lack of method admires
the baker’s zeal for carrying out
instructions and his faith
placed in the batter’s yearning
to rise and fluff out

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