Breaking Bread

Cassandra Howard

He is teaching me to make bread from the lump
left to rise last night in the dark warmth of his closet –
first he breaks it in two, returns one half to the cool
fridge till again he will break it (loaves and loaves will
be made with the yeasty starter). He puts the other half
in a bowl to feed it with flour and water and my hands
dip in and mix, and after, we let it rise for an hour
before he punches it down and lets it rise again.
He turns the dough out on the table and I shape
the sourdough into a round. When the bread bakes,
we listen to the ice pop in the tray, steaming
the oven, browning the crust, and we can hear the knife
cutting the loaf, flakes flying, even though the bread
is still dense in the heat of the oven. Butter softens
on the table as we think, Who to share it with?