I. measure

with hands of frozen fingertips,
dunked in the cold too many times
to count,
and i find the clouds of flour that
somehow floated up through that thick
skull of mine and into the
brain matter underneath,
and white-white-white glares with
a pain as sharp as needles in my bare back –
the pelt of too-hot water –

II. combine

in the gloomy morning, listening to
the rain meet tin above my head,
a different kind of melody –
and my hips groan,
complaining with an audible voice inside
my mind, warning me not
to walk too fast,
so i stand with the bowl and the
wooden spoon, biting lips to
keep from spinning
to the ground.

III. knead

as strings of exhaustion and an
ache deep inside my marrow run their
way through me,
sticky fingers and flour all down my
front –
i can feel the folds of memory and
personality stitch themselves together
in an effort to keep from
falling apart and landing like the
forgotten pieces of dough
sitting at the bottom of
the abandoned

IV. rise

i wasn't born with patience, so
it's a lesson i need to learn,
and the rain beats a steady rhythm in
my ears
as the heat hides in corners i cannot
reach – somewhere in a warm place,
the dough grows with open
eyes, watching as time bleeds on
and loses itself in a
distance no one will
ever grasp.

V. knead

and i'll punch it down again just
to see if it will rise up in confidence
and newly-learned
experiences –
my hands are caked in stiffening
dough and thoughts of the present
until it all smooths beneath
my fingers and my swinging has
evened out with the
peace of just
this moment –

VI. rise

bewildered, up it goes again,
reaching its face to the sky, where the
sun glows through the roof of
the oven and the ceiling and the atmosphere;
i wait for the minutes to pass,
and the rain keeps time with the
red hand of the clock,
every second a confession
in my passing thoughts –

VII. bake

to make my stomach feel better,
the scent of baking bread fills my nose
and gives me a sense of almost-
satisfied, almost-full-and-normal,
and it grins a slightly brown upside-
down smile
when i accidentally take it out
with bare hands and blister the ends
of my fingers –
and it breathes the smell of yeast,
flour and baked goods around
the room until
everything else
♠ ♠ ♠
Making bread makes me feel so much better. It smooths out the mountains and valleys of my stupid emotions. I've made four loaves in the last week. It's been a pretty up-down week.