Author’s Note: “Bread” arrived as part of a sonnet sequence, and a consolation, after much mulling over privation and constraint. Work and all life’s effort appeared, somehow, not to add up to the needed relationships or fulfillment. Some lines might suggest it, but there was no premonition of public calamities when I wrote the poem. It would seem, though, that the poem knew more than its author as it found its place (as sonnet IX.) eventually as part of a poem sequence about the COVID pandemic, titled “Virus Regulation” (https://newworldwriting.net/alamgir-hashmi-virus-regulation/). Retrospectively, thus, perhaps “Bread” telescoped into the future that many of us in the COVID-19 world must live with.
Warm bread from the oven,
your hands smell of dough,
baking, the science of hunger
or satisfaction. You only say
we are out of cinnamon
just as yesterday.
Another mile to go for spring water,
more herbs, and nuts for the buns.
plowing or gathering,
prayers for good weather.
Is it this we live for?
One waiting, the other away.
Alamgir Hashmi is the author of numerous books of poetry, including My Second in Kentucky (Vision) and A Choice of Hashmi’s Verse (Oxford), as well as volumes of literary criticism. His recent work appears in anthologies and journals including Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, New Letters, The New Quarterly, Chicago Review, Poetry London, Paris Voices, and Connecticut Review. Hashmi is a Rockefeller Fellow and Pushcart Prize nominee. As a professor he has taught English and literature in North America, Europe, and Asia. Web: www.alamgirhashmi.com
Delmarva Review is an independent, nonprofit literary journal published annually to encourage outstanding writing. It is supported in part by individual contributions and a grant from the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Copies are available at Amazon and a number of regional bookstores. Website: DelmarvaReview.org.