Green Hills Literary Lantern








Breathtook mornings of kneading and need, hands deep

            in bread dough, outside barely sunlight, and I know

I've tasted the food I keep trying to make. Some

-thing honeyed

but sweetness so deep in its afterthought, the thrown-away glance

            out the car window to a house impervious to burn

            or time's warp, a picture you can't picture fading. There's

a stirring. How inside the bread, while I make oatmeal and drink coffee,

            a little bit of living

will keep living and, with its own life, give off air, breath. There's no real

way to taste it: the air in the bread will be tasteless but caused

            by what once was taste. Beyond the kitchen window

there's a tree still standing though it's half-dead, a tree I sat under

    two summers back and ran a hand along the hair

of the dog of the woman I wanted to want to love me more. There's distance

of miles and distance of iteration.

            Bread rising. The honey

   and brown sugar in the bread shape it ghostly, constituent bits

like an equation's zero, placeholders, a word thought

            and kept, not forgotten but never said. A kiss

imagined over and over until, eventually, the matter

of involved lips doesn't matter at all. And how it is

            in the long aisles, fluorescent-lit; how we reach

to those softnesses, feeling for a give, wondering

            at the polka dots on some bags, the bright colors

and assurances of purity.

                        I've tasted the bread I want most,

tasted it warm as it gets. There's actual taste

then remembered sense and the difference between the two

            is hauntingly slim. If I've done everything right

            there will be airy nothingness

at the bread's core, pocked hollows marking where sweetness

has been feasted on. It's breakfast, a rising. I wake alone

                                    and am hungry, just like anyone;

            I hum small songs that last just until the meal is ready.




Weston Cutter is from Minnesota, lives in Iowa, has had work either recently or soon-ish in Gettysburg Review, Third Coast and the Hollins Critic, and wishes terribly that he were geographically nearer to Chicago.