I grind my grandmother’s bones to a powder
add a little water from the blue glacier
spit and stir, knead in dry leaves
the yellow fat from new cream
blood of the Northern Pike and sand
carried down to the valley from the mountain.
The dough is stiff. Hidden lumps
break at my touch into splays of dust —
scents of cedar, rain on hot pavement,
curling smoke from a Drum cigarette,
the habits of black flies, Orion’s
bow — a consistency of awe and recollection.
In the hour it takes for the bread to rise
glaciers retreat and leave behind
skirts of rubble, a swamp of bones,
old trees fallen, turned to coal.
Mountains are split by the brush of the river,
bridges hang webbed across the water.
I shape the loaf with a roll and even pressure
of hands accustomed to morning prayer.
Score the taut skin with the edge of a knife —
North and South, the passing flights
of birds. Coiled shells of fossils embedded
inside sleep uninterrupted.
The bread bakes on a board in the sun,
stout, flecked with salt and cheeks burned.
Sweat glistens like dew on my skin
and is taken up on a circling wind.
I break the crust and eat, exhale —
every breath I lose I breathe again.