He Bakes

have you ever really watched a man make bread?

the way he concentrates,
his unruly brow furrowed so seriously as he carefully reads the recipe and measures each ingredient

the way he bites his bottom lip,
his tongue sneaking out to wet it before his top teeth clench down

the way his fingers ever-so-slightly pinch the top corner of the cookbook page,
effortlessly gliding down the backside with a push as he turns it

the way the flour powders his cheek and nose and backside where he’s unconsciously touched himself as he mixes and measures

the way his forefinger delicately and evenly slides across the top of the measuring cup to level it,
swiping away the extra ingredients

the way he so fluidly moves around the kitchen,
following the recipe from step to step,
organizing and arranging,
in control

the way his hands envelope the dough,
pushing and folding in rhythm,
knuckles and palms pressing and molding it precisely

the way his forearms lend strength to his hands in ripples and waves of movement

the way his shoulder and upper back muscles so swiftly tense and release in knots and threads as his arms work

his easy patience,
waiting for the dough to rise

the persuasive curve of his backside and the clenching of his thighs as he bends to smoothly slide the baking sheet into the oven

his pride and eagerness to share when the bread comes from the oven,
perfectly baked,
ready to be devoured

the bread is heavenly,
but I’d rather devour the baker

-image via Pixabay

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Sparks

she was all softness and soap,
no makeup or jewelry,
skin with a polished translucence,
as if she only ever bathed in mountain streams

she smelled like one of those overpriced, crafty shops you find in small, country towns,
all sandalwood and lavender,
an easy comfort that wrapped itself around me like a well-worn sweatshirt

as I walked to her,
light seemed to whoosh through my head like a brisk breeze,
leaving behind a mesmerizing feeling of reverence,
of old books and mom-and-pop coffee shops I never wanted to leave

and when we stood so closely together,
I couldn’t see the ground below,
only the horizon,
a sheet of flattened, shiny tin that stretched as far as I could see,
stamped with the buoyant sparks of possibility

-image via Pexels

Lucky

Twenty-five years ago, I kissed this boy for the first time.
He looked at me, and it didn’t matter where I began or where I was.
He made it feel like we could exist in a world where every day might contain at least a tiny spark of magic.
He made truth feel like magic.

The time we spent together began to feel like helium in my veins, and his eyes were the most tangible slice of hope I’d ever seen.

He still looks at me like I’m his forever.
I still cry sometimes after he closes his eyes and falls asleep, because I feel so grateful.
Not because he loves me without reservation, but because he exists,
and I am so lucky to be a part of that existence.

-image via Pexels

Priorities

not long ago,
if someone had asked me,
I’d have said my husband was the most important thing in the world to me,
but he wasn’t,
not then

what was most important to me wasn’t love or passion or trust,
but my ability to lie convincingly to myself,
to believe I was strong

and I’m not sure who I couldn’t forgive for finding out I wasn’t,
for knowing all along I wasn’t –
him or me

-image via Pexels

Swan’s Song

standing at the creek’s edge,
our fingers’ clumsy knot begins to unlace
as he turns to look at me,
eyes flickering like fading filament,
a passing swan’s cursive curve a question mark’s reflection on the glassy surface before me,
just like the words he so softly speaks

and I stand there, stuck,
wondering if, no matter my answer,
no matter what choice I make,
would the swan still sing our song?

-image via Pixabay

Rusty

“I love you,” she says,
her voice shivering and raspy,
the unfamiliar words birthed from some damp, corroded place inside her,
flaking like rust as she forces them through tentative lips

it isn’t that she doesn’t love him –
she does;
she loves him more than she thought was possible

but,
she never wanted to need him

-image via Pixabay