Baking Bread with My Brother

I convinced him to fly in early

to have the luxury of a day together,

one we must fill with something other than

the silence of all we cannot talk about:

the dark and wide shadow I cast;

the way I bullied him when we were kids;

how dad saved a seat for me at the table

and ignored him; how he never let me be anything


but big brother; the way he hurt me,

and I hurt him and how stupid it all seems

as we gather to celebrate our sister’s 70th

and he has grandchildren, as do I.

Baking bread is something he’s mastered,
the way flour, water, and yeast make ready

the dough, when and how to knead in

black olive slices for our favorite bread.

I want to be close to him and learn,
or better have him teach me, how to discern
when the alchemy of shadow under warm cloth
let’s you know it’s time for the next step.