I will speak of a rolling pin, not as a maker of pies
but as a keeper of memories, a teller of tales.
I will touch the handles and know
that a young bride first touched these handles
carved in quiet Quebec evenings by her youngest brother
the one left behind, a young man of the forest’s gift to his sister.
He chose the tree with care.
I feel in its smoothness the loving hands of the maker
its knothole the darkness of impending loneliness
its sturdiness the strength of the young man
who day after day brought logs to the river, freed logs from jams.
I will speak of the love that brought this bride westward
of my grandmother who packed her gift
in a hip-lidded trunk filled for the future
and boarded the train heading away from her woods and rivers
into a land where trees are planted for windbreaks, not cutting
a place where the resonance of language echoes strangely in her ear
where Trés-Saint-Sacrement is substituted with Saskatchewan.
A young bride who picks saskatoons not blueberries
rolls pastry with the rolling pin carved by her brother
and buries her own knothole of loneliness in everyday busyness.
A young wife in love, whose love
bears three daughters, Marion, Ella and Irene
her family who made the wheat fields home.
I will speak of my mother, Irene
And walk with her to the rhubarb patch my grandmother planted
watch as she severs leaves to decompose in earth
gathers ruddy stocks in the largest leaf, washes them under the pump by her kitchen door
and makes pies.
I will sit, dipping rhubarb in sugar as she rolls
and tells tales…
“Your grandmother used to say
‘When making a rhubarb pie to add the sugar required, close your eyes and add more’.”
Then in her voice of memory ‘When your grandmother came out as a bride she brought...'
Today, I stand at my kitchen counter rolling
I speak of memories. I make promises…
‘When your hands are big enough you too will make pies
You will touch the hands of your great-great grandmother, of your great-grandmother of me and of your mother.
You will keep memories. You will tell tales.'