My Mother-in-Law Cooks

Rachel Marsom-Richmond

Photo Credit: Melissa Wiese

and she checks her eggs one at a time. She cracks
one into a small bowl before dumping
the yolk into a larger bowl filled with flour.

She tells me about the time she tried
to make her husband a red velvet Valentine’s
cake from scratch. The recipe needed
six smooth eggs.

Only the last one was filled with blood,
and her floury hands were helpless. Bright red
yolk spilled into the bowl.

Cake, batter, five other eggs all ruined,
she had nothing left to serve. Only blood.

She confesses, voice lowering to a whisper,
that she baked it anyway, and she couldn’t help
but smile at her husband as he relished bite after bite.

Now she checks her eggs one at a time,
and I do the same when I scramble up breakfast
or bake her son birthday brownies. I watch,

hypnotized as my fingers crack egg after egg, searching
for dark spots, large lumps, even the tiniest vein
deep within the yolk.


Rachel Marsom-Richmond graduated with her M.A. from Northern Arizona University in May of 2009, and she graduated with her M.F.A. from Georgia College & State University in May of 2011. She teaches composition, makes sock monkeys, and dreams of moving back to the mountains of North Carolina. For more information on poetry publications, please visit: Email: rachelmarsom[at]

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