The Gift

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The Gift                                                       

      By Ute Carson      


The Woman carries loaves of steaming bread,                                   

Her arms a basket woven around them.                                              

Then she stops and lets her load tumble into a flung-out apron.

She looks at me and breaks off a chunk,

A gift of soft, grainy dough

With a crusty rim, brown like an earthen vessel.  

I hesitate, having hungered all morning instead

For a slice of a pulpy orange

With its sweet juice coating my tongue

And its blossom-fragrance pleasing my nose. 

The Woman has already turned

When I manage a belated thank-you.

Only the aroma of coal smoke and risen yeast

Still hangs in the space between us.


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