Rumi Realizes He Forgot to Refresh His Sourdough Starter

with quotes from Daniel Ladinsky’s ‘Love Poems from God”

No bread tonight, Rumi says, with a laugh.
We first must feed the barm. Wheat flour fills the air
as he pours and spins at the same time.

Of course, I want to stop him. What a mess.
High gluten flour everywhere. On the counter,
the floor, the chrome of the sink, the thin crack

where the Thermador vent meets the stove.
But before I can beg him to stop, he turns
and covers me in flour, too. Why lay yourself

on the torturer’s rack? he asks me. Forget any sounds
or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
I hear him. What he says makes sense. But the floor!

He sees my downward glance. He’s been teasing me
all night about my worry. Like how when a friend
was quite late to call, I suspected a heart attack.

Exuberant is existence, he says. Time a husk.
I stammer. But, but, but …
No bread tonight! he shouts again, so nibble

at me! But don’t gulp me down. And he
races behind the kitchen island. The game,
I see, is chase. And I feel in my back where

the wings would be. And I see the flour-y floor.
Perhaps I could just vacuum first, I think.
Uhn uhn uhhhh, he says. Clean is wonderful,

but ecstatic dance is more fun. I try to give in.
I shake flour from my hair and force a laugh
as another white cloud disperses everywhere. Rumi

takes me by the hand and our feet trail in thick wheat
dust. There is, of course, some pleasure in it.
I smile the most real smile I can while scanning

for my brush.

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