The Staff of Life
for Gary

They were strolling
a boulevard, hand
in hand past an aromatic
Chinese restaurant,
simmering night of ‘sixty-nine,
just home from Viet Nam—
when something inside him
broke, and he woke to find
his fingers locked
around his girlfriend’s neck.
Forty years later, he’s still in prison,
rising each day at four a.m.,
kneading softness into every fold,
punching down the risen dough,
baking the staff of life
for those who’ve given offense.



This poem also appears in Night Ringing (Headmistress Press), a collection of poems by Laura Foley.



About the Poet:
Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy.



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