Nan’s bread pudding recipe

by Zoe Ellsmore

Up there, on the kitchen shelf,
my nan’s bread pudding recipe
is slipped between the pages
of a hardback book.

Five lines of alchemy, now faded,
brings old bread back to life
with milk, maraschino cherries
and clouds of cinnamon.

We pass it down, a christening gown,
stained with sticky fingers,
wrinkled with the ghosts
of spilt milk.

We trim timings, change weights,
add apricots, figs, cranberries
until the page is swollen
as a late August apple tree.

I reach for the recipe, bring it down.
In my hands it’s heavy
as a thousand photographs,
sweet as a maraschino cherry.

I begin.

Zoe Ellsmore’s “Nan’s bread pudding recipe” came third place in the 18+ poetry category as part of our 25th Birthday Writing Competition.