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The Bread on My Table

ISSUE:  Winter 1999

Bread, you said, on a plain
table. Spare scene. Bare
room. Like a painting, you

said, neutral tones, waiting for
someone, brown study in need
of color, life, a house, a yard.

But here the houses too
are brown, the land is flat, kept
in line by straight streets, how

will I get from the place
I am to the places I need
to go? What will I have

to carry and how will I carry
on without, with only myself
for sea and valley and hill?

Where will I find the bread
for my table, thick batons, tawny
mounds, boxes with blowzy

crust spilling over the top?
And what will I do if I need
a hand, but oh, the hands I’m in

are mine, one in my pocket, one
for my love, warm on the coldest
barest days, hands on skin, hands

on the table, one on the loaf
and one on the knife, no, two
on this loaf I’ve made myself,

table between us, I’m breaking
this bread, here, it’s still
warm: this is for you.


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