baker’s daughter

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CHarlotte Mannheimer/Wikimedia Commons

before the sun is fully crested over the barns,

I pull the yellowy creams from the chest and let them soften into

mornings first familiar yawn.

Peeling waxed paper off butter, blocks fall into my everfloured hands

cubed and scooped, spilled on oak boards.

we knead into levain and the cool cubes break

like a creek bubbling past the melting ice as April awakens.

her wedding ring, a stone given many June’s ago, picks up

salt, and vodka slips over her gold band into dough creases.

don’t you worry, it’ll bake off.

the morning loaves and evening cakes never sink when as she pulls them from the oven

my mother moves in calculated teaspoons and scribbled notecards at 350 degrees.

has my mother ever sipped liquor past dark?

has she swallowed warm beer to please the pressures of a dark room?

has she ever felt her dignity fall as she went through with a mistake

that she had already made before?

her eyes are fresh green ferns, too soft to taste wheat outside of

sourdoughs and soda rolls.

she knows just when to stir counterclockwise

and when it needs just a dash more salt.

and my eyes are pinches of blue and teaspoons of gray, poorly mixed.

and I easily succumb to clasping quarter-cups to pass the time,

letting those who care for a taste,

tear the crust from my bread basket.

as I tug the floury mass into my hands, I long to let the dough fall meekly like she lets it-

supple semolina gently merging into her palms:

patience, she says.

I speak of young men and crossroads and did you hears

while I handoff, slice, cube, and peel,

as she pushes cornmeal and sprigs of rosemary into the thick pre-bread belly,

folding laundry dough.

a starter, she says, for tomorrow, she says.

my jaw bones repose in red palms, elbows on the counter

curls loose and back, eyes forward

naked hands in naked bread,

filling wheat pools with our laughter.

Olivia Box is a rural-turned-urban beekeeper, an amateur mapmaker, and aspiring forester; these are the things that most influence her work and play, day-to-day.