Produced by Maine Poetry Central and Dennis Camire

This week’s poem by James McKenna of Hallowell describes the Tuesday before Lenten season begins, when one traditionally observed a day of repentance before the fasting required by Lent.


Shrove Tuesday Dinners

By James McKenna


Each year on this Tuesday

Mom made magic pancakes.

We’d watch her mix into the batter

handfuls of charms and portents.

Then we’d race to the table so

she could serve our fates.


Bite into a dime, and you’d have wealth.

Find a penny, poverty was your lot.

If you got the diaper pin, you’d

have lots of kids, just like Mom.

Once my pancake had a paper clip.

Peering at it Mom said, “You’ll be a writer.”


One year, dinner almost over, I went

to the kitchen to help clean up.

“Take this one to Carly,” Mom said.

My sister was 13, heavy and not pretty.

Mom spooned out the last batter.

As it sizzled in the pan she

gave me a wink, slipped off

her wedding band and

dropped it in.


Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]

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