Writing With Poet Fida Islaih

On Wednesdays at 6:00 pm Poet Fida Islaih facilitates a chat for poets called #PoetteerChat on Twitter. I’ve been participating for a couple of months and have enjoyed chatting and getting to know other poets. Two weeks ago Fida had poet Nicole Gilotta, author of Eat This Poem, as a guest on the chat. (Transcript here.) I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about her book and the inspiration for writing it, so much so that I invited the other participants to join me in writing a collaborative poem about food. I’d always wanted to do a collaborative poem and the subject piqued my interest. Fida took me up on my offer and following is the result of our collaboration. I highly recommend PoetteerChat and hope that you’ll join us! 


Bread is a part of every meal
and Monday mornings
were for bread-making.
My five-year-old self

would sit at the big, worn
kitchen table and watch
Grandma’s hands
as they expertly kneaded

and rolled the dough, grabbing
the edge, folding it to the center,
then pushing it down
with the heels of her palms,

gradually turning the pale round
disc until all edges met
in the middle, over and over,
her fingers flexing, arms relentlessly

churning like waves on a shore.
I’d watch as she chatted
and sometimes sang,
a merry-go-round of domesticity,

a goddess of the kitchen,
until time to rest the well-worked
globe in a bowl in the corner.
Later, the whole house was filled

with the smell of freshly baked bread.
We sat around the dining room table,
I tore off a piece of pita to dip in hummus
as we waited for the main course.

On the flip-side,
I tore off a piece of flatbread
to scoop up some curry.

Bread owns no culture yet
belongs to every culture.
A staple of life,
bread is universal.


Tomorrow begins NaPoWriMo and I’ll be attempting to write a poem every day via prompts from NaPoWriMo.net. Wish me luck! 

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