"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2016 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw.


Polly Alice

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pumpernickel

It's hot in here.
The new air conditioning can't beat
-my week sixteen pregnancy generator
-the ninety seven degree sauna that is the Midwest
-my four hundred degree oven baking bread.
That must be why baker's get up early.
They aren't going to heat up
the ovens at the hottest part of the day.

I'm not that smart. I didn't remember
I was going to bake bread
until well after breakfast.
I let the yeast sponge with some
honey, water and a little flour
well until after nap time.

I forced myself to keep adding flour
in between getting the baby out of his crib,
and other chores.

When the spoon couldn't turn
anymore, I had to finally get
down to it.  I had to knead the dough.

I'm lazy.  I do it in the bowl--
easier that way, and less mess,
and who can knead for ten minutes
anyway?  I maybe get in five.

I let the dough rest under a towel.
I can barely stand up.
I take a vitamin.
I make iced tea...
I eat leftover birthday cake.

Ahh some energy kicks in.
Now I'm ready to tackle it,
but can I?

There is a huge beast in that bowl.
Large enough to push up the tea towel
and make its presence known.
The cocoa, dill pickle juice,
and rye flower leave
an odd scent in the air
like scratch and sniff stickers
left out in the sun.

It's now or never.  If I don't
tame it, the dough will explode out of the
bowl, or wilt into a mass of glue
I'll never be able to clean up.

I have to do it.  Ugh.

I put in a lot of white flour
the dough looks like
chocolate mousse. I wish I
could make that instead.

I punch down the monster
dough, and pinch it into two pieces.
One I roll into a ball, the other a log.
I place the ball into Great-Granny's
cast iron skillet with a little Always Save
olive oil.
I cut a criss-cross design in the top.

Relief.  I have tamed half of it.
The log--I roll it up one way and
then the other.  I put it in
grandma's old banana bread pan with some more oil.
I slice the top right through the middle.

I set them on the stove under the tea towel,
a white flour sack cloth, mostly new.

The stove heats up.
They rise silently,
so well behaved.

They are beautiful.
In the oven the loaf rises up into a heart shape,
the ball poufs into a crown round.

I take them out
when the irresistible smell
fades and I smell nothing at all.
I set them on the counter
then turn them out to make
sure all the alcohol evaporates.

Set out on a brown tea towel
ready to slice, they look
like a seventies cook book cover.

They really don't
taste like pumpernickel at all--
too much honey, not enough rye.

Oh, well.  That means
the kids will like it.
I can share.

They smear it with butter,
and eat it,
laughing.

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