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From Sisyphus: Soup and Bread

Sisyphus speaking to the stars remembers the woman who made soup and bread

Boiling bones in water from the spring,

she’ d throw in onions,

garlic, carrots with their tops,

peelings she had left from other meals

and brew a broth

where we could swim like fish

up rivers of aroma.

She’d chop up cabbages

and other roots and throw them in

along with beans she’d dried

and let them simmer in the kettle

half the day,

stirring now and then

and sipping from a spoon,

her eyes closed,

searching for the taste she dreamed about.

We’d watch her add a pinch of this or that,

smack her lips and nod.

I still can see her pounding dough

from wheat she hammered into flour,

her rough hands turning mounds,

lifting up and slamming them onto the table top,

her strong arms pushing down

until at last, she had round loaves

sitting by the fire.

She’d cover them

and we could see them rise to twice their size

before she’d bang them down

and let them grow again.

Then just before the soup was done,

she’d place the loaves

into a cave of stones

she built inside the fireplace

and from the embers there,

the smell of bread would mingle with the soup

and hypnotize.

She was a Sorcerer

whose alchemy could take the elements:

fire, water, air and earth and fill the wind

with magic that would nourish us.

No matter what,

each day she made us soup and bread

and fed our lives with tastes

and what would give our blood and bones

the strength to grow and work.

No king or queen

or warrior did more than she to save the world.

And as I push this stone,

I still can hear her hum as she cut vegetables.

I still can see her sit and dip her crust

into her soup and smile at us.

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