EVEN IN THE DARK
You make sourdough bread because it’s easier to focus on the simplicity of water and flour than on anything else. You marvel at how water and flour blended can start life. You think of science and the way this pairing draws yeast from air. You remember the air in the hospital waiting room, the sour chill, and the way your yeasty thoughts bloomed faster than you could breathe, faster than you could form sentences, so the words came out lonely florets. Please, won’t walk, will walk, maybe, I don’t know.
Now, you speak to flour and water in full sentences. You whisper to yeast the way you might a plant, like you did your child lying in the hospital bed. You cajole it with a gentle voice, urging it to expand and breathe, to grow and move.
Bread sustains us, you say.
I will love your crust, you say.
You told her to move, to find her space and take it even before you worried she might never walk again.
Her left toe moved first, after you called her name, after you sang it to her because songs draw life from air, and she knows. You ignored the tubes that snaked from her and the thick paste of uncertainty. You focused on her feet, her beautiful feet, her toes poking out the end of the thin hospital blanket. As slight as the movement was, you wondered if the floor shook.
You pour bubbling yeast into flour, add salt, sugar, oil, and hot water, and you knead. It will take hours for the yeast to expand, for the dough to double in size, but you wait like you waited for her toe to move and then her leg and then her other side. You are good at waiting. You’ve spent hours in waiting rooms. You count the hours and think they could add up to months, if not years.
You wonder if the events of that week doubled in size rather than shrunk like you thought they would. You see yourself as you waited, the way you tucked your legs under you at night, knees and hips aching on the cold hard bench. Nurses appeared and disappeared like shrill ghosts. The clock ticked. Out the window from the eighth floor, you could see the front range spread for miles, even in the dark.
Cristina Trapani-Scott is the author of the poetry chapbook The Persistence of a Bathing Suit. Her work has appeared in Hip Mama Magazine, Paterson Literary Review, and Entropy Magazine, among other publications. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, and she serves on the leadership team for Northern Colorado Writers. She is at work on her first novel, and when she is not writing she likes to paint, bake, and hike mountain trails with her partner and their blind Lab/Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Follow her on Twitter at @CristinaTrapani.
Cover Design by Karen Rile