Monday, October 5, 2015

The grace at the heart of the world

She's not much for recipes. The bowl sometimes
invites her, and she oils it, cracks a duck egg 
or two, throws in a bit of stock or well water,

maple syrup and leavening, and says to it:
sit there and I'll be back with something for you.
"Something" might be a beet leaf, or an apple,

or a spray of young mint -- once it was a whole
handful of chives. Chopped and thrown in,
the whatever might vanish under oats or rye,

buckwheat flour, or crumbs from the last loaf,
and then salt -- late, so as not to insult the yeast.
Last, she may tug the spelt barrel from beneath

the counter, and dip a porcelain bowl into
the cool brown powder five -- six -- seven 
times. She stirs the makings between heaps

with a pair of chopsticks. Never quite
the same thing twice! In summer she'll oil
a crock pot and turn the lump in to bake;

in winter, a Dutch oven. In either case,
the secret is prop the lid onto a chopstick,
letting a little steam out over time.

The end is not the prettiest bread you'll ever see,
nor the best tasting, she'll admit. But slice it,
add a little butter to it still hot,

and sit, eating slowly, in a western window
as the sun goes gold, then falls. Are you not
now the grace at the red heart of the world?




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