I want to do it, she says at each step
of the recipe, and I try to let her
even if it means broken eggs on the counter,
too much salt, and too little flour.
She splays the dough onto the cookie sheet,
using the wooden spoon as if it’s a combination
snow shovel and mallet. When she turns away,
I try to perform a kind of cookie triage,
finding those blobs with a chance at survival
and nudging them into a vague roundness.
After they’re finished, she holds one aloft
like a medal and tells her mother,
I did these all by myself, right Daddy?
I nod, saying nothing, and, for the first time,
wonder how many of my own victories
were smoothed into shape behind my back.
From Love and Other Collisions (Press 53, 2010).
Used with the author's permission.