Every year Bella’s mother baked

for their church’s bake sale

two cookbooks opened to grease-stained pages

Flour everywhere, electric mixer, mixing bowls,

rolling pins, measuring cups, spoons

baking racks, sheets

divine smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice

all through the house,

deep dish apple and sweet potato pies

baked in the oven then onto the racks to cool

Delicious, mouth watering coconut, chocolate cakes

apricot, raspberry jam thumbprint cookies

Bella’s kindergarten thumbprint in the center

Bella’s mother even made

peanut brittle

a candy thermometer, sugar, butter, vanilla

peanuts, walnuts

bubbling up violently

lots of stirring then onto the cookie sheet

She would say “hurry up, hurry up”

and Bella spread the gooey mix with a spatula

the house was filled with nutty, vanilla,

buttery goodness

Next morning at the annual ‘Communiversity Day’

sunny, hot, packed with vendors, live music

people walking

every store on Nassau Street

had a table out front showing their wares

Bella, her mother and the ladies from the church

sat behind a long table swatting away yellow jackets

and calling “Homemade baked goods here. All homemade.”

McGowan lives in Princeton Junction. She has had her poetry selected by VSA New Jersey to be read at Crossroads Theater. She attends Delaware Valley Inc., Twin Rivers Writers Group, and Anna Evans Poetry Workshop. She is a member and participant in GSSL activities.

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