Staff of Life

The banana bread cooled on the counter,
Not ready for the knife that would deliver it
From its pan. Still, I didn’t consider it
My baby, though I had made it.
I lay my cheek on the brown crust,
Rested there. This was new for me;
A finger touch acted as temperature check
Before. It was like placing my face
Against my mother’s. Sweet smelling,
Warm, compelling. I became the baby,
Comfited, encompassed, content.
I’d never thought to do more with food
Than cut and eat. This time that didn’t seem enough.
I thought the Hebrew prayer would help:
Thank you for this bread brought from the earth.
I left it on the counter. Later I’ll do what must be done:
Make slices, not too big and not too small.
Respectful, incorporating its body into mine.

Karen Mandell
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