I spend most Saturdays with my grandmother,
listen to her stories about her and her brothers
selling loaves of bread and mason jars
full of soup for a nickel each
during the Depression.

She still uses her mother’s recipe:
cake of yeast at room temperature,
sugar, salt, two cups of warm water,

It rises like I don’t know what, she says.
Like breath, I think.



Kelly Scarff is a technical editor and teacher from Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Her poems and essays have been published in The Atticus Review, Apple Valley Review, 5 AM, and elsewhere. Her latest chapbook, Mother Russia, is available from Kattywompus Press.


was our anthem. Amen upon waking,
Amen at the bus stop. Amen for the bullies who made
our cheeks ruddy and stained. Amen to my father’s
filthy nails, my mother’s worn feet. Amen
for the dead cats under our tires, the patched shirts
in our closets, our failed tests,
the homework we never finished. Amen to the waving
hand that brushed away our questions.

My mother tapped her leather-bound Bible,
said we had all the answers we needed.





on awareness

What I know:
1. The hydrangeas that I planted last spring have never bloomed,
2. I will never be able to recreate my favorite hair cut,

3. The things that I don’t know outnumber the things that I do know,
4. I will always regret New Year’s Eve, 1998,
5. There exists one second every morning where I forget that I lost you.