Bread Lines

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Could it be we’re already dead? The thought revisits me whenever I pass the bakery of renown for its croissants and braided bread. It’s the yeasty scent that severs those of us no longer here—unseen

as heat—from where we were before. I catch myself in the plate glass of “La Dolce Vita.” We trade shared breaths, the ritual to restore our credo: “All sorrows are less with bread,” before we start to fade

reminding me each moment’s mortal and I’ve twice already shipwrecked here, attempting poems that launch this cargo. I guess it’s futile— translating bread’s rough dialect from hunk to verse would only staunch

a mother tongue, the lyrics we can sing to. I’m biographer of the Unknown. It fills my page— blank shore crisscrossed by inked bird tracks that mutely lift off, pair by pair, for the sky to hold their knowledge.

Back when, dark mornings, I’d unhook the shutters to wake my dreaming son, a tide of crustose dust alit whose source I never could hunt down. Starved, I forage that heavy book for manna, which means, “What is it?”