ANOTHER ONE IN THE OVEN

The great breads of memory
invest us with odd hallucinations:
    the steam from a brick oven, the heat
    of life melting in the back of my mouth,
yellow butter on a broken French loaf.

Hot red pickled banana peppers
    chased by a crusty chunk
    of peasant bread to conquer the fever
of an odd combination savoured by my grandfather
    after he fled Napoli.

I have known some astounding breads in your belly,
    and the way it swells under heat,
    pregnant with the population of the future,
    skin stretched as tight as a balloon
    sprinkled with flour and the glow from the sun,
where I can trace our love like a feast that never cooled.
    Bread and raisins,
    bread with sugar and milk,
    bread and cinnamon,
    bread with mysteries
    like creation, or birth --
    a woman's leaking breast,
    semen stronger than yeast.

    Old ways and ancient legends.
    Bread and salt and punishment.

Then someone dusted our hair with flour,
    the crow's foot creased our glances,
and my joints started to sing on the stairs.

But there was the life we devoured like a hot loaf.
Bread we ate in rain-verdant jungles.
Bread that rose slowly on glaciers.
    Flat breads.
    Hard breads.
Pita and Focaccia and Seven Grain and Baguette and Chapatti.
Buckwheat and rye and pumpernickel and corn and culture.

    The stuff of life.
    The grain that never dies.
    The mill wheel that grinds
    and nourishes our slender bones.   
   
    Everyone knows
I've devoured your bread or kneaded the dough of you
in love and history and luck and circumstance.
And it's true there are grim times
when I am beaten down to the ground.
    Then I just rise.
    I rise.
    I rise again,
and we find love in the oven, we discover a taste
for desire and honey and age and married secrets
that becomes a recipe for a way to live:
    a way
to make and break our bread together.


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