by Jackie Langetieg

Father Writes to Mother From California

I remember Grandmother’s voice
and crickets clicking behind the radiator,
feasting on dust from fresh baked bread

while I lay on the window seat
watching her polish the mound of dough
pushing and turning it on its powdery board.

Looking over at me, she dropped
a small plastic doll into the mix
folded and smoothed it into a ball

while she told me of earthquakes
in San Francisco

and how the ground would open
like cut dough,
then fold over a small girl and her mother

rolling, kneading and sealing them
into the bread of the earth, sent to the oven to bake,
disappearing beneath the cooling crust.

Previously published in “Wisconsin Academy Review,” Summer 2004