Ashby Baker

Service starts with Simon and Garfunkel’s “59th Street Bridge Song.”
Up on tip-toes, a girl cocooned in blankets watches her mother, arms strong
nose to the cookbook, as she kneads unsweet dough,
nudging sticky flour into patties, humming to the radio.

Floured-hands glow white, and the mother rechristens
each countertop she touches, as the little girl listens
to the oven trill shrilly at 450 degrees,
Mother stopping and wiping her brow with her sleeves.

The cookie sheets slide on a sizzling perch
and divinity bakes itself into the Church.
No need for pipe organs or a stained-glass window
or bread or grape juice when they had a radio
and children’s drawings and strawberry jam
and biscuits born from a blazing land.

As they sit in wooden chairs creaky at the seams,
the mother and the girl entwine their fingers over steam.
And song rising from the table, her mother starts to pray,
and on “Amen” she thanks not God but Mother for today,
the true creator of their meal, for her body of biscuits, her blood-red jam,
and her whipped cream made wholly by a faith-floured hand.

Ashby Baker is a third-year studying Biological Sciences and Creative Writing. She loves her dog, Pokemon, figure skating, and biscuits.