Hour Seven: The Apron Dress

My mother’s clothes
always smelled of yeast and flour,
cinnamon sugar and vanilla.
For years I thought her apron
was sewn onto her dress.
She never took it off, except on
Sundays, when church was mandatory.
Daddy, her husband, had been ordained
although he secretly drank in the woods
and molested her daughters, the neighbors’
daughters, too, if he could lure them to revival.

Like Steinbeck’s Casy, always fingering his buttons,
most preachers can’t be trusted with daughters.
I can see mama donning her apron dress, returning
to the oil cloth table, the rolling pin, the gas oven
that might explode in all our faces,
if we ever told.

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