Verses by Terri Gilson; Art by Jemma Jose
She only wanted to help
But it was nearly done, I’d say; there was nothing she could do.
Triple the time it would take me,
to pour in the milk, stir.
Flour, spilled all over. Again.
It shouldn’t have mattered.
Scolding. Unable to restrain myself.
Too much to do – a perpetual hurry.
Impatience and irritation slowly morphing into guilt, then,
eyes welling; small face crumpling.
Self loathing. Relentless regret.
Desperate to be a good mother.
Yet, wanting to cook alone.
Because I knew, one day,
And then I’d ache,
for her help,
for her sweet little girl voice and those delicate, miniature hands,
grasping the measuring cups,
with her painted pink step stool,
always in the way,
pushed right up against the cupboard.
Up on her tippy toes, straining to see over the rim of the bowl.
Pleading, for just a little taste,
of what was to come.
And she’d already be gone,
living her own life.
Macaroni, Mr. Noodles soup, maybe bacon and eggs,
after a night of partying
No longer wanting to please,
Just wishing I could do it all over. Again,
but differently this time.
Or relive, even just one moment of it.
And she, only able to recall, perhaps,
the odd faint flash,
of her little girl self,
learning to cook .