I used to bake bread as if
my life depended on it. And maybe it did.
I was young, broke, and living in a house
with six friends. One of us saved money
by diving into anoxeria, until she turned orange
from eating pounds of organic carrots everyday.
Another did most of her studying in the bathtub;
I mean she was ensconced in tepid water for splendid
hours on end. She got used to hearing us pee, as
the toilet was in the same overheated bathroom.
Another played plaintive folk songs on guitar and flute
until my ears rang, and I had to spend some of what
little cash I had on bright orange foam earplugs.
But we were a community – we all had our house tasks.
One person made soup out of leftover vegetable
scraps she saved in our freezer: carrot tops, tough
brocolli stalks, potato peels – nothing was wasted.
And I made the house’s weekly bread – at least six
loaves a week. Organic whole wheat, sourdough,
and challah, when we had enough eggs come Thursday.
I stirred the dough, beat it down by hand.
The kneading was my saving grace, my meditation,
my entry to a personal dream storefront replete with
sugar maples, periwinkle and cumulous clouds. I walked
that forest often and blessed it daily.