Sign on a Wall by Tom Sheehan

The dough board, oblique,
worn to a frazzle, now hangs
in the cellar way. Knuckles
of love soft shoe across it.

Like a fallow field it lies,
fifty years since my mother
powdered and rolled dough
into its grain, beginning bread.

Her hands, white-knuckled,
went board to dough to fore-
head to the plain blue apron
smelling of rolls, haitch

bones, sweat and anxiety.
She struggled great breads
out of its surface, morning
fried dough sizzling in oil,

a sure birthday cake three
tier stall on special days,
and wrung from its granary
pains and aches and tired

bones, migraine’s soft thunder,
age, a shot at infirmity.
That old board, edges like
fingers, hangs awry on a nail

my father drove to catch a jacket;
if I bang it hard enough, fisted,
belligerent about recall,
a small cloud of powder floats her love.

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