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Mince Pies – For Phyllis

 

The cutters are steel, sharp as a tooth.

They rattle in the bag,

remembering too many years in a bottom drawer.

 

They cry for the fattening of lard,

crisp flakes slow-baked in a wood oven,

her hands, the push of callused pads on ridged edges.

 

The cut and twist; practiced, punctual,

pushing pastry into the parchmented tray.

So many little worlds pieced together.

 

They have no patience for mine,

slipping from my butter-soft hands,

a clumsy clinging to ritual and loss.

 

Missing her metrical measurements,

formica counters,

how even after fifty years her English tones

 

could slice the bones of a Vermont winter.

 

 

© Eilish Fisher

Picture 10016722, advertisement in Good Housekeeping, December 1932, image copyright Mary Evans

 

 

Eilish grew up on a farm in rural Vermont and moved to Ireland in 1998. After more than twenty years in Ireland, she considers herself both a Wicklow and Vermont writer.  Her poetry has been published in Crannog Literary Magazine, Three Drops From a Cauldron, The Ogham Stone and Cailleach literary journals and in the anthology Writing Home; The New Irish Poets, published by Dedalus Press. In summer 2020 she won second place in the Ken Saro-Wiwa Poetry Competition and was also awarded a place on the Words Ireland Mentoring Programme for young adult and children’s literature. Her first children’s novel was shortlisted for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Award in 2018. She received a master’s degree in early medieval Irish history and literature and a doctorate in medieval English literature from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Eilish lives in Glenmalure, County Wicklow.