There should always be pie in a poem, — by Lailah Shima

There should always be pie in a poem,

she muses, when you writhe under weight
of worry, precarity of hope.

Calloused, her hands slice apples, sprinkle
spices, drizzle honey. Measure nothing.

You don’t understand. Unceasing,
she crimps a circular seam along the lip

of a glass dish, as out the door you drift. Mind
your feet, she chimes, as if sidestepping

despair could be enough. Screech owl tremolo
and sharp slant of late light pull your torso

upright. You hoist your body into the center
of a seven-stemmed cedar. Let it cradle you.

Your vertebrae vibrate along one of its spines
as it sways and sings in gusts of wind,

as dusk settles. Below, mycelium woven with roots
shuttles carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous

plant to plant, according to need –
shuttles signals your cells also receive.

Cardamom, cinnamon, ginger.
Persist, persist, persist.


A mystified mother of teens, dedicated practitioner of Zen, and aspiring hospice chaplain, Lailah Shima lives and writes in Wisconsin. Her poems have so far appeared mostly on friends’ phone screens, but also in CALYX Journal (when she was still Lailah Ford) and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.