Pandemic Baking

by Sara Eddy

I make the bagels on our third date,
our third Covid date, standing
in your kitchen as if we live together
as if there aren’t people dying
and we aren’t risking our lives.
I open a new bag of flour and feel
it silky between my fingers
while I plouf it out over your countertop.

Flour, yeast, water, salt,
coconut sugar from my pantry
because sugar isn’t your thing–
I make you smell its nutty
tang and you raise your eyebrows,
surprised.  You say this is lovely
and I can tell you mean both the sugar
and me.

The dough is tougher
than usual, and I fret while it rises
but when I twirl the tori
around my finger
they feel just the right balance
of resistance and forgiveness.
The rounds go safe to the boil.

The next morning we eat them
with cream cheese and shallots
and smoked mackerel
you ordered for this purpose
thinking ahead, thinking me lovely.
Outside your house the woods
hold close around us and
we pretend to feel safe.

Sara Eddy is Assistant Director of the writing center at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her poems have recently appeared in Threepenny Review, Baltimore Review, and Abstract Mag. She haspublished two chapbooks, Tell the Bees (A3 Press, 2019) and Full Mouth (Finishing Line Press, 2020). She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with a teenager, a black cat, a white dog, and three beehives.