A package of yeast gets it started
With water the temperature of your wrist
And flour beat down with a wooden spoon.
I set it open-air near the stove,
So every morning, stirring up embers
For coffee, I stir the starter down,
Judge its muscle
In an old kitchen, they say,
You don't need yeast. Flour and water
Catch spores off the air,
Generations of bread pasing its history
Mouth to mouth.
Remember that summer
We spread spores from Kenai to Eagle
An island in Prince William Sound?
The sponge had a delicate
Life of its own, moss-flowers
On tundra: a balance
Of heat and warmth and moisture
For months living under snow
In the morning, and bread
From an oven we built of glacial stone.
At night we tented with our starter,
Breathing its spores in our sleep.
Stirring up the fire,
Stirring down the sponge,
For an instant I smell