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The shiva rice pudding

The shiva rice pudding

was the only one I ever made
that turned out wrong—watery
beneath the cinnamon-sugar topping.
And I forgot the raisins. She
made it year after year in the old red
wedding gift baking dish, then
in the new red baking dish she bought
after the first one broke.

It’s always more or less about the food—
the chicken soup, the casseroles, and, yes,
rice pudding, her mother’s recipe.
Still, what else can we do but bring out these
pale reminders year after year and set out plates?


Ellen Steinbaum is the author of three poetry collections. Her work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and is included in Garrison Keillor’s anthology, “Good Poems, American Places,” “The Widows’ Handbook,” and “A Mighty Room: a collection of poems written in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom.” An award-winning journalist and  former Boston Globe columnist, she writes a blog, “Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe” which can be found at her web site, ellensteinbaum.com.