by Elaine Reardon

Sleep and stillness cling to my eyes.
Morning light trickles through pine branches
into the kitchen where yeast has raised
soft pillows of choereg dough overnight.
I slide the fragrance of warm yeast
into the waiting oven.

I kept the fire going last night
to coddle the dough,
to be kind to myself.
Now I sit at the window
fog lifts in wisps and I sip tea.

The world here is quiet,
aside from the faucet dripping
and the ping of the oven as it heats.
Strong tea mingles with aroma of rising dough.

Do we not all rise with some redemption, new each morning?
In some homes people are moving towards family gatherings
or waking to a jumble of legs and arms in unfamiliar beds,
while I sit with my ancestors baking this bread.

I receive the old ones and the fragrance and the taste,
listen to the kitchen sounds mingled with the quiet outside,
the complete stillness of each branch and leaf,
warm cup in my hand.


“Thanksgiving” is from Elaine Reardon’s first chapbook, The Heart is a Nursery of Hope.