Catalyst

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The cloth dampened and draped over the bowl,
she set the dough near the radiator to rise,
warned her children to leave it alone,
resist their urge to lift the towel
and watch the pale mass surge upwards,
poke the warm blob with tiny fingers.

“It isn’t clay,” she reminded.
“You want fresh bread,
you leave that be,”
she said as she wiped her hands
on the dishrag hanging off her shoulder.
Left to attend to a baby’s cry.

Alone in the small kitchen,
the boy and girl scooted
the metal step-stool closer,
eyes now even with the yellow
of the bowl’s top edge.

To reveal the hidden
and delight in the silky touch,
or defer their pleasure,
let the sour-smelling
alchemic yeast transform
a toy to a buttered feast?

Although he could remember
even the chill
of that particular day,
the burnt orange
of his sister’s sweater
as they teetered together,
he could not recall their choice.

He held the lighter underneath
the scrap of tinfoil and watched
the brown powder turn liquid,
drew it up in the syringe
he’d found on the floor,
and lost interest in the answer.

Smiling as the needle
sunk into the white of his arm,
he dreamed of perfect loaves.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 8

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