Margaret Hess


Breadbaker Pantoum

Bake, woman. Stand in the hottest part of the house
and work until your arms and feet swell
as your yeasty bread does. Good morning
it's a beautiful day

to work until your arms and feet swell.
Your husband says
it's a beautiful day
as he goes out the door.

Your husband says
what's for dinner tonight
as he comes in the door,
kisses your cheeks red with stings as you make

what's for dinner tonight,
bring the laundry and the children in,
kiss their cheeks, red with stings, as you make
soothing sounds. Hush, you say, as you

bring the children and the laundry in,
you're home now. You fix everything but yourself
with soothing sounds. Hush, you say, as you
tuck them in for the night,

you're home now. You fix everything but yourself
at the kitchen table. Take your fears,
tuck them in for the night,
put them with your runner's waist, your cello-playing space.

At the kitchen table, make your fears.
Watch them grow brown and round,
put them aside with your runner's waist, your cello-playing space.
Every morning

watch yourself grow brown and round
as your yeasty bread does. Good morning
every morning.
Bake, woman. Stand in the hottest part of the house.



Margaret MK Hess grew up in Seattle, Washington. She currently lives and writes in San Diego, California.

"What I remember most about front porches is the feel of them beneath my bare feet. Hot, sticky gray-blue paint in the middle of August in Seattle, Washington; concrete so smooth it seemed like it would never crack in Denver, Colorado; uneven green floorboards that moved with my step in Kauai. Brick porches in front of official buildings, my toes curling around their edges into the dip between them. That first step off the porch onto the stairs, or pathway, or grass, that summer feeling when you know you've started to go somewhere in bare feet, mind so full of plans and feel of the ground not a thought can be spared for shoes."

Masthead


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