There you are in your coral-colored pantsuit,
1972, though your spray-stiffened hair holds
something of the ’60s Sophia Loren glamour
as you knead the bread dough from which
your eyes have momentarily risen.
Your mouth is a candid startle, slightly open,
perhaps on its way to Don’t! or No!
Your deflection a reflex. You leveraged
weight into the heels of your palms, pushed
the pale belly of dough into itself and away.
The rhythm of roll, fold, turn, roll, fold, turn,
movement and reposition a pattern, a practice.
I’ve never forgotten the thing you told me
later that day, long after the camera came down
to hang slack by its strap at my side. I wanted
to know if you were all right in the aftermath of your
latest fight with my step-dad. You lifted the tea towel
from the top of the bowl, punched down the doubled
dough, the air escaping like a thousand exhalations.
The madder you are, you said, the better the bread.