Bread Alone

Corrie Williamson Click to

williamson-pic-1Corrie Williamson is the author of Sweet Husk, which won the 2014 Perugia Press Prize and was a finalist for the Library of Virginia Poetry Award. She is currently at work on a manuscript of poems that travel between modern day Montana, where she lives, and early 19th century Fincastle, Virginia and St. Louis, Missouri, where they trace the voice and history of Julia Hancock Clark, the woman who married explorer William Clark and followed him west. Poems from this manuscript have recently appeared in AGNI, 32 Poems, Terrain.Org, Southern Humanities Review, Quarterly West, and other journals.


Having accidentally thrown out their decade old sourdough culture, the bakers at Park Avenue come to my friend Nick at the Sweet Grass & ask, can he find it in his heart to share a dollop of starter with them, but though he is kind about it, though he says, ask me for sugar, for flour, for honey brewed by bees from high mountain meadows beyond the valley, no, he cannot give them a bit of the batter that dwells in a plastic bucket by his rusty ovens, birthed 150 years ago in the windy darkness of a kitchen in Great Falls at the hands of a Scotch sheepherder plying yeast with water, with wheat that bloomed & died in the surrounding plains, risen from the wild, the dough a thing with breath, souring into a richness he feeds, & folds, hungrily alive in his long freckled hands, like the voice blazing in a coal worn in a bag below the throat, talisman & torch, the voice that gives the price for day-old bread, the voice vowing the simple, leavening power of its love, the voice of some god howling year after year among the trees.