two trees

I can feel the immortality of my grandmother’s crust
in the dough ball itself, marbled with shortening, the secret

of flakes and high cholesterol.  I split this weighty atom
in two, the first duality in the universe of pie: top and bottom,

wrapped in plastic, waiting in dark refrigerator to be rolled
from sphere to plane over mist of flour, then unrolled

over glass dish, rough edges jagged lace around the brim,
a waiting bed for cinnamon sugared apple wedges

skinned by a man who, after years drifting in timeless bliss,
stopped to hear I wish to eat from the tree of knowledge

and leave this.  But still I stay, and homeless Buddhists,
we make pie on Christmas. Green waxy apples abundant,

a tart and hearty mound rising above the rim, waiting
for pastry lid to unfurl like warm blankets over cold

kids smiling at mother, tucking them in. Rolling
and pinching the up and down fringe of doughy discs

into rope of thick crust, thumbs echoing Granny’s, just so,
making rippled ridge, a circular bridge to eternity.

I sip an ale and grin, my austere Lutheran grandmother never did,
and so the famous crust has changed in one detail: intoxication.

And another: a wind of Hindu mantras makes my heart
a sail, makes me slice with paring knife a Vedic vent.

Ancient om, so like a number 30 cradling one-eyed
crescent grin, a personal promise: 30 is when life begins,

when lines of sunshine smiling finally live, permanently,
in skin around my eyes, and Granny’s pie the key

to eternal life. From the belly of the oven pie is born.
I carefully pierce perfection with four lines, turn

the crusty wheel like prayer, offer Adam, weary with patience,
a steaming slice of the tree of life topped with mounds

of melted vanilla ice cream. “Well done,” he says,
“Well done,” with soft eyes.  And we nod yes.

2008

Leave a Reply