The Baker: A Treatise on Single Motherhood
Kara J. Searcy
She buys his bread
because he grows his own wheat.
When she asks for an extra loaf
he always says “Shore, shore,”
and he doesn’t charge her for it—
head of dark curls turned down,
so she can’t tell if he is smiling.
On her way home she passes men
near her cul-de-sac selling the last
of the sweet corn, but she doesn’t stop
because she remembers the last time—
finding beetles in-between husks.
It’s when she goes to the bakery next Monday,
sees the sign on the swinging door reading
"Closed for the Winter,"
that she isn’t sure how to tell her little girl
there won’t be any PB&J for lunch that day.
That night their house feels cold.
Tomorrow, they’ll warm it
by mixing their own dough
and baking their own bread—
store-bought flour on the counter
as iron groans, light curves,
and the spaces around them
brighten, and then burn.