Laura A. Lord

My grandmother saved stale bread
in a wooden box on the third shelf
in her little pantry closet. She put it
on hold, as if the bread had come to
some strange junction in its life
where famished children must wait
and watch to see what it would become.

No one could question the temerity of
that woman. There was a strong line,
bright as a shining vein of sapphire
that ran in knowing little paths
across hands that could jettison a
fistful of blanks just as easily
as it could tear stale bread into chunks –
transform those chunks into an age-old,
famous stuffing recipe or into the luxurious,
rich mountains of golden baked pineapple.

I frequently found myself sitting on
the suitcase in the pantry closet and
playing with small wooden horses,
there, by the bread box. I wondered
what the stale bread would be by
dinner time…

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