Pen and Ink

Since this is the last poem I’ll be able to share for a while since I’ll be studying abroad, I wanted to leave you all with a poem that’ll get you all in the holiday spirit. Hopefully, upon my return, I’ll have a few new London-inspired poems to share with you all. For this specific poem, we were supposed to write about a meal or dish that means a lot to us, which is why I decided to write about the cookies my family and I make every Christmas.  

Cut Out Cookies and Cream Cheese Frosting

The baking ingredients annually line the cupboards when the radio croons Christmas tunes 
and tells tales of frigid air and reindeer while I flatten the powdered sugar dunes. 
The wax paper covering the bowl leaves an oily residue on my fingers, 
and though it’s been a year since I snitched any dough, the sharp almond taste still lingers. 

After I roll out the dough – the canvas now prepared, 
my hands start cutting out shapes and moving of their own accord, 
for they memorized this process long ago when I was just a child 
and know how to design a snowman, an airplane, something akin to a marigold. 

The shapes, now cut, meet their tray and bake  
until my mom says they’re awake 
and begs for me to take them out before they burn 
like I’m still a child, unable to learn. 

But I know it all, the techniques and the brands that we use -  
Philadelphia cream cheese, Watkins almond extract, it’s all old news. 
Despite her backseat driving, I still take the reins and make a ton 
of frosting colors – blue, purple, maybe pink – and mix until the milk helps them run. 

The shapes, now awake and clothed in shades of liquid sky, get  
ready for decals - sprinkles of all kinds, a bit 
given as gifts, others from the Bulk Food Shoppe 
where you can get everything, from almond flour to a wax lip. 

The entire process takes days, no matter how skilled, 
but the campus cooks will always leave my dream unfulfilled, 
for they could never know the secrets of it, things I’ll take to my tomb. 
Do you now understand why the smell of almond reminds me of home?