Making Scones
By Diane Elayne Dees

Chopping raisins is punishment called a chore.
The sticky blade will not cut.
Chop, run water, wipe.
Chop, run water, wipe.
Not small enough, my mother says.
Not fast enough.
The tiny kitchen is hot like a prison,
and there is no back on the stool.
She stirs the dough and waits
for me to master the blade.
Not fast enough.
Not good enough.
More and more raisins appear on the board,
and I am cut to shreds by her impatient looks,
her running commentary of criticism.
Her hands shake as she holds the wooden spoon.
She wants the scones to eat with her cheap tea.
She wants them because my father hates them.
She should have stayed in London where she belonged.
Instead, she watches me chop tinier and tinier slivers
until the blade is dull and the heat reduces me
to a neglected compote that will harden, untouched,
while the deceptive smell of baking dough
wafts through the neighborhood.

Diane Elayne Dees’s poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane lives in Louisiana. She publishes Women Who Serve, a blog about women’s professional tennis.