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My Father Died When I Was Six Months Old by John Grey

I never did learn to bake cookies,

not at nine-years-old,

not even at twenty-nine.

I didn’t squeeze dough,

stir it in the mixing bowl.

I had to look elsewhere

for molding, for smoothness,

an aroma to match

that whiff of butter and sugar,

to combine disparate ingredients

into something whole, tasty,

and my own.

It was someone else

toiling anxiously

but excitedly,

in the shadow of your long hair

concentrating on

both task and instruction,

as tiny hands concocted

smooth round balls

then rolled those treasures flat

on greased sheets,

made them ready

for the awaiting oven.

I was a baby then

but already the man

of the family.

It was my sister

who learned to be you.

I was tutored by a ghost.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review, and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.


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