cyprus sanicle, Madeline Harpell
She kneaded dough like she was making love.
I would have known this, if I had paid attention.
She always made her own bread
because she hated high-fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup is in everything.
I didn’t have time to watch her knead dough;
I didn’t recognize the band-aid on her finger
where she’d sliced it open chopping shallots.
She loved to cook, if only to watch me eat.
I lived in my own separate world,
while she lived in every world she touched,
leaving a piece of herself behind in each one
until she had pieced herself apart.
I could taste pieces of her in every loaf–
her cooking made me forget the flavor
of chemicals, the toxicity of corn syrup
heavy on my tongue.
But when I cut her out
I realized that I couldn’t cook.
I could make toast,
but only from supermarket bread.
The kitchen felt empty.
The next time I saw her,
kneading dough in a cooking class,
there was a ring
making little stamps in the dough.
I saw her kiss another woman.
My mouth watered.
About the Artist
Madeline Harpell · University of Minnesota
Madeline is an interdisciplinary artist from Minneapolis, mainly focused in photography, poetry, collage, and performance art. She has an individualized degree in design, communication, and cultural studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. This piece first appeared in The Tower.