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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Grandmother, Breaking Bread


by Sara Anderson

Up to your elbows
in yeast and flour,
you smiled, hummed
followed no recipe
texture of the dough
your own small empire

My father bit his tongue
though the muscles
at his temple and jaw
worked endlessly
the tension in the air
spring-loaded

You a guest in his home
a few days each year
A son’s duty
His unspoken contempt
for you and all the times before
thick in the room

He spoke once of sheets
hanging shredded in the wind
raveled hems of dishtowels
plucked away by birds

The deep shame of laundry
left overnight on a clothesline

Years later the perfect loaves
you bake as penance emerge
from the oven tasting
of guilt and sorrow
a mother’s contrition

Header photograph © Asher.

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