PAD Challenge Day 1

Most of the time, I will use prompts from Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides. Today his prompt was about a new world or worlds. We certainly have that now, and this is my effort.

Baking Bread

It takes a slower time, at least I thought
it did, but really, it slows time to the precision
of a mise en place. First, prop the book
and brush the dust of past bread from its pages.
Then lay out the cups, the spoons. Flour, sugar,
salt, yeast. Then liquids: Butter, milk, water.
Erase any guilt using a mixer may give. This is only
the base, food for the little yeastlings. I used to worry
about too much or too little flour, but now know
how forgiving it is, how the dough speaks,
lets me know when it’s time to move from bowl to board.
When I was young, it was my favorite part, and still is—
the gradual addition of flour through heft, muscle and bone.
The book says ten minutes, but I know
other things mark the time. The thump, fold, stretch,
thump, fold, stretch, sift is my metronome and at last,
I see the gluten glisten. It’s humid today,
unlike younger bread mornings in California
or Kansas, so the first rise is fast and everything
I could want. I punch it lightly and form two loaves,
one to keep and one to give away. The smell stays for hours,
filling a hunger I forgot I had. That night I slept.

Posted by

Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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