Poem: Bread | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Poem: Bread 


She is the flour.
He is the water.
She brings the yeast and a touch of sugar.
He brings a dash of salt.

Together they make bread.
The smell of warm bread fills their house morning and night.

Soon, they aren't sure who is the flour
and who is the water,
and they both bring the yeast and salt and sugar.

They make bread side by side.
Sometimes talking.
Sometimes laughing.
Sometimes in silence.

One time she was kneading the dough
And said, "It's not working."

She put it on top of the oven
And gave it a chance to swell.
Just in case.

She covered it with a towel.

He agreed, they should give it time.
He said "The worst that can happen
is we go without bread, tonight."

"No." She said. "The worst thing that can happen
is there is an empty space on the table
where warm bread should be sitting."

He was puzzled. "That's what I said."

She replied, "That's not at all what you said."

It would take him a couple of years to learn the difference.

Most of the time everything works out,
but when it doesn't,
they simply try again.
They don't give up.

Sometime the bread gets stale,
so, they make toast.
They add butter.
They don't throw it away.

Sometimes the bread starts to grow mold,
so they crumble it up and feed it to the birds,
and watch the birds from the window.
They don't throw it away.

They make bread when they are poor, because it is cheap.
They make bread when they are rich, because it is elegant.
They make bread when they are happy.
They make bread when they are sad.

They have long forgotten who is the flour
and who is the water,
and when one forgets the yeast, the other remembers.

The only time they take a break from making bread
is when they are sitting at their child's table
and enjoying the bread their child's family has made.

It may need more salt;
maybe it's a bit doughy in the middle.
That's okay.
All that's important is that there isn't an empty space on the table
where warm bread should be sitting.

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