She Was Our Heart

NANA

I went looking for a poem,
Before garbage trucks and
School buses and tired
Commuters started their
Arguments with the day.

I found a red car speeding
Away from drive-thru coffee,
And an empty lot waiting
For readers on wheels.
But no poem.

I listened for new noises
In an old car,
And old birds singing
To new flowers.
But still no poem.

The sun glared at me
And shook her head
Saying, you are so blind.
So I parked in the shade
Under our kind maple,
Gathered my things,
And found you—

Tucked tight against my
Sunglass case, out of
Sight in the side pocket
Of my bursting bag.
How had I forgotten
You were with me
The whole time?

One moment of you,
My poem,
Caught on Kodak paper
Standing in your green pantry,
Brushing milk onto two
Loaves of bread before baking.

The best bread ever made,
Mixed by hand each morning
Before garbage trucks or
School buses or tired
Grandkids started arguing
With the day.

You taught us how to bake
Bread and poems and lives:
Mix everything together
Until the dough feels right,
Bake in a hot oven until done.
You left the details up to us.

Use what you have on hand.
Each day’s bread will be different.
There’s no recipe, just practice,
And a sturdy trash can for
The loaves that fail.

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