When my hands bake bread, I knead
Ocean, rock, the flesh of beasts and flora then
Draw down honey moonlight for alchemy’s fire.
My frail, mortal fingers unite all that was to create all that will be and
I embed within each loaf this woman’s power of touch
That can halt the most merciless onslaughts with a caress
That can melt centuries of isolation with a warm stroke.
My hands give away the bread,
Nourishment for body and tinder spark for soul.
Across a hostile desert, a woman’s desiccated hands accept my gift
In an act of graceful courage.
Once she eats
Her fingers tingle in an awakening of the
Sweet, invincible bond between women,
The body of that connection between every element of the universe,
We have created over and over, since ancient days,
In the shared ritual of mixing, kneading, waiting, baking.
Each receiver of bread returns to her oven and bakes a fresh loaf
The aromas rise, restoring the power of our touch
Molecule by molecule, to all women who breathe in air
Making of us one and also many, each stronger in herself for
Being with one another, like grains of wheat or flecks of herbs in a loaf.
Such a simple act, baking bread, a daily chore.
Women’s hands roiling earth and sky together, one with another,
Recreating ourselves as floury bakers of that force that spins every atom
Binding us in joy with yeast and wheat
Feeding each other the miracle of one more day in each other’s lives.
First published in Moondance, December, 2005 – March, 2006