A Poem for Will, Baking

Each night he stands before

The kitchen island, begins again

From scratch: chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg,

He beats, he folds;

Keeps faith in what happens

When you combine known quantities,

Bake twelve minutes at a certain heat.

The other rabbis, the scholars,

Teenagers idling by the beach,

They receive his offerings,

In the early hours, share his grief.

It’s enough now, they say.

Each day more baked goods to friends,

And friends of friends, even

The neighborhood cops. He can’t stop,

Holds on to the rhythmic opening

And closing of the oven,

The timer’s expectant ring.

I was just baking, he says if

Someone comes by. Again and again,

Evenings winter into spring,

He creates the most fragile

Of confections: madelines

And pinwheels, pomegranate crisps

And blue florentines;

Each crumb to reincarnate

A woman – a savoring

Of what the living once could bring.

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A Poem for Will, Baking