Einstein Brothers Bagels Steam drifts from the open oven fresh smell of baked flour and yeast trails over the counter to noses not quite awake this early in the morning. A jingle over the door precedes the homeless man who pilfers day-old bagels from the dumpster out back last night’s bed of dirt and grass clings to his folds and creases. As he makes his way to the bathroom to bathe in the sink, pink antiseptic soap masking years of sweat and hunger, the raisins in the bagels have never looked so plump. The curve of bread fits perfectly in my expectant palm. Filling the Table My dad and his brothers grew up in the North Country shooting rabbits so they could eat picking wild berries to keep their bellies from cramping. When you are poor enough you learn how to shoot so you won’t know how it feels to starve. Dad taught us to fish and hunt to filet catfish and dress deer to fill our plates and freezer. We planted a backyard garden to curtail the grocery bill sun-warmed peas sweet on the tongue tomatoes canned for the winter cucumbers pickled and flavored with dill or brown sugar and celery seed. We foraged wild strawberries and blackberries from the field across the driveway both bowls and bellies filled with the sweetness of summer sun. Recipe 12682: Apple Pie by Grandma Ople I borrowed an heirloom recipe from a family of strangers so I can enjoy pie again. I never met Grandma Ople. My grandmothers were Joan and Kathryn, and neither ever taught me to bake. My mother takes shortcuts to give the appearance she baked. She pulls pies from the depths of her basement freezer, brushes a year’s worth of frost from their boxes. She pops them into the oven to reheat and considers them home-made. She never met Grandma Ople either.
About the author:
Gabby Gilliam lives in the DC metro area with her husband and son. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Tofu Ink, The Ekphrastic Review, Pure Slush, Deep Overstock, Vermillion, MacQueen’s Quinterly, and Equinox. You can find her online at gabbygilliam.squarespace.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GabbyGilliamAuthor.