Beauty is sweet to us, because she dances to the same fleeting tune with our lives./ Knowledge is precious to us, because we shall never have time to complete it.
—Rabintranath Tagore, from “The Gardener”
It is not quite right, the dark rye bread.
Memory serves a darker taste, a denser
dough, a coarser grain. It is not easy
to wait on memory. It knows what it wants,
and what it wants is not this here, not this now,
not this dark round loaf I made with 50 percent rye flour,
25 percent rye meal and 25 percent bread flour,
two tablespoons of molasses, a teaspoon and a half
of salt, plus water and one third cup of sourdough starter.
It is good, this bread with chewy crumb and crackling crust,
if I eat it alone and ask memory to go sit in the corner.
But part way through my slice, I hear memory’s low mutter:
It was better then, the way it was once, before.
It was darker. And denser. Mmm hmm. It was better.
It was. So fine then. I know that you remember.