On a whim, I decide to bake bread.
It’s not that I actually have the time –
I can hear the murmur
of remote meetings and emails
calling to me as I stand in the kitchen
absentmindedly searching my cupboards.
Flour, yeast, sugar, oil.
Basic ingredients but miraculous
to find them quietly waiting.
When was the last time I baked bread?
I remember vaguely that on bread baking day,
there was always the certainty that
at least one good thing has been accomplished
and I reach for that.
I measure and mix,
hold the slack weight of it in both hands.
Each movement takes me further from today
and closer to you.
Like that time you put your head into my lap
and cried. I think we both knew then
that nothing could save you.
It was quiet knowledge,
splintered and sure in our hearts,
but never spoken aloud.
Oh yes, now I see the connection.
It was that day you came beaming through my kitchen door
cradling a used bread machine in your arms.
You’d gotten it at a yard sale for $3
and brought it to me immediately.
So I could spend less time in the kitchen, you said.
I wanted to love it,
but it allowed no space for sinking knuckles deep into reverie,
there was no pounding worry and frustration into something useful
and solid like dinner rolls and farmhouse white.
There was an empty hole at the end of each loaf that couldn’t be ignored
so I returned to folding and kneading on a floured board,
but I left the bread machine on the counter so that
every time you came noisily through my door, you smiled.