Needing

Her grandmother used to knead by hand
On a floured surface
Removing treasured wedding bands
In exchange for dough-covered fingers
She can remember Grandmother’s punching
and shifting
and pushing
and turning
Filling the dough with joys
or
frustrations
Whatever were the feelings of the moment, the day, the week, the month

Now years later
with no floured surface
She carefully measures her wheat, honey, water,
Yeast, oil, gluten into her bowl
Breadhook attached, machine plugged, timer set,
the mixer does all of Grandmother’s work
to the tune of ten minutes.
The timer sounds, the kneading is done —or is it?

She longs to touch the dough
like clay in the artist’s hands
Bringing life into element through the hand-builder.
Pulling out the flour, she dusts her counter and hands
Ooooooo—wow. How could she know it would feel so fresh in her hands? She turns in her sorrow for the fussing she did to John who wouldn’t put on his shoes and head to kindergarten class in time for the bell and pats in her smile she shared with the baby this morning. She infuses the bread with her spirit
as she feels
Grandmother near.

The futility is passed. She embraces the past, and

Making bread is now a joy.

-Karin Salisbury


photo credit

Young Again

When I die, will you paint me
Young again…?

Eyes set forward, without tears for Ethan’s cancer at age six (he was here oh-so-briefly)
Brow long and high, not with wrinkles borne of worry for
Kaitlin’s solo, Jonathan’s baseball championship, and later
Kaitlin’s failing marriage, Jonathan’s lost job, and even later
Burying Jim after thirty-six years of happily and not-so-happily
Married life?

Will you paint me innocent? Free from fear?

Yet I look in the mirror at my
aged face,
tired eyes,
wrinkled hands…
Hands once delicately fingering a piano, rolling a cookie, painting a homecoming poster
And I wonder
If each mark of age represents an
unspoken experience,
valuable wisdom,
immeasurable compassion,
Would I trade it all back for a young face, thick hair, and soft hands?

-Karin Salisbury


photo credit

Music Within

The notes don’t come as easily as they once did
And yet, in some ways, they are easier

Maybe her fingers are more nimble from the hours of
Hand-holding
Bread-kneading
Math-problem-solving…?

Hours at her disposal are no longer available
For practice
And yet,
When she sits to play, as she once did
Several lifetimes ago
She feels the same.

–Karin Salisbury


photo credit