Megan Stolz


Perpendicular pumpernickel, or snickerdoodle cookies –
these were the smells from my mother’s kitchen,
except she never cooked, she was Liberated

by Lawrence, her husband, a chef (aspiring).
We lived on Honey Lane and got stuck,
sticky, over sweetened. I can’t tell the difference

between syrup and sincerity.
I am too close to my own childhood.
I never learned to ride a bike and this

bothers me, but breaks my will to drive
a stick shift. Too many buttons.
Our backyard was littered with Legos

we used to build castles. I lived in one
for a week until my mother made me come out.
What made the pumpernickel perpendicular?

It pickled, and we put pennies and dimes
in a dish every time someone came to the door,
stuffed in the oven, like Gretel,

fairy tales we gobbled for bedtime stories.
They gave me nightmares and haunted my days.
I was convinced my wicked liberated mother

would eat me or make me dance until the briar
scratches on my skin bled me to death and that’s
why I lived in a castle. She coaxed me out with a cookie.