Raising the Dough – Bread Therapy for a Refugee

A weekly gift from warm hands.
I work it rough with sesame,
Beating the dough with sticky palms,
Breathing its fungal incense,
Swaddling it to slow rise
Like a foetus might have – once..
My mother’s kitchen, woodsmoked,
Swells my nostrils, the bitter kindling,
Her fragrant sweat hallowing the heat.
Limed knuckles knead the plumpness,
Pummel, punch the full ball.
She catches me watching her fulness,
Tears a pinch for me.  A smile
Leavens her face as infant fists
Hammer, flatten the gift. She receives
My offering to prove with hers
On the altar of her warmed stone.

After the soldiers, beatings,
Flattenings, the dough still rises,
But always in the silence of my cold heart
And her stilled life.

Rosemary Doman