Meat Pie Poem

“Hey, Amelia—”

I’m making meat pies in my oven at home today.

Outside it’s snowing.

They’ll go in at 350 degrees for an hour—

or so.

Egg wash on the crust, golden brown when they’re done,

and steaming,

and delicious.

Even if you don’t eat meat, or not usually.

I’ve been chopping onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots,


Love that word, celery.

Tried to have a character who mortgaged the farm to put in celery,

And lost it all when the Civil War came and he had to leave

those muddy acres.

He was right.

No one believed him.

Not even his wife, who was named Ada M. Passage.

You know I don’t remember what I named him,

poor thing.

But then, Ada was the one left with three children and no home and all those seeds

so tiny it seemed impossible to believe they could ever grow.

She was the one who

had to find work as a cook on a Great Lakes steamer, and

leave those kids behind with the neighbor, and

get remembered as an unfit mother,

even if she wasn’t.

And maybe she was—I don’t know.

Pneumonia took a lot of children back then, and fast.

And fires.

And skating accidents on

unfrozen ponds.

Our lake is frozen solid like an ice cube in a tray,

it is so shallow.

I’ve been walking across it for two weeks.

I’ve been chopping, and I’ll make gravy, and try to remember

how much cornstarch.

This much?

This much?

And how much milk?

How much au jus, and would these duck drippings work?

Let’s try.

Remember when we figured all this out in the bakery?

Remember how good it smells?

Even if you don’t like meat pie, like I think I don’t,

but I do.

I’ll add all the frozen veggies I have in the freezer,

whatever they are—

peas, green beans, spinach, corn.

I love corn.

I love its yellow corn color.

And the potatoes, of course.

Always potatoes.

And meat.

How’s it going out there in Idaho,

in poetry school?

January 13, 2012

Deer Park, Michigan

Category: At Home, Recipes and Food | Tags: , , , , 8 comments »

8 Responses to “Meat Pie Poem”

  1. Therese

    I love it! Your poem and meat pies!
    We have snow here in Ky. Have a great year!
    Therese and John Falder
    Princeton, Ky.

  2. ellenair

    Thank you, Therese! Cheers to you and John!

  3. sal brroks

    I could smell them when I read that. Great to read on a snowy day. Hope the book is going well. We all miss you.

  4. Gerry

    I think hardly anything at all worked out for those Civil War veterans they way they thought it might, but somehow they clung to a patch of earth. But a meat pie – a meat pie can make up for a lot.

  5. Meg in Maryland

    Who can resist a poem about meat Pies? Any pie for that matter? I can smell them now. That’s just down right unfair because they don’t make meat pies in Perryville. And I have a cauldron of homemade bean soup filled with not quite cooked all the way beans, so there will be no meat pies on the sly over here. Nope, it will be corn bread and crunchy soup for days.

  6. ellenair

    Thank you, Sal! Miss you, too… Now however I have made myself hungry in thinking again about meat pie, so off to stir the oatmeal.

  7. ellenair

    Gerry, I know–a meat pie seems like a fundamental truth in life. Hope you and the pooches are superb!

  8. Robyn

    Lovely poem. Like the perfect blend of William Carlos Williams (This Is Just to Say) and Michelle Shocked (Anchorage).

    Robyn, I love both of those–thank you so much!!

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