I get into trouble
if I am late
to pick up my bread,
the lady at the bakery
leaves me a message
threatening to freeze
my loaves.
The older woman
who works afternoons,
the one advised
by her co-worker to take
her gambling vacation
while she can.

She has been using
echinacea for decades
she says and never gets
a cold.
The bright pink she wears
makes it difficult
to guess her age, unless
she were to mention dates,
but she does not.

I think she is the age
of my friend’s mother
but can’t be sure,
having lost that gauge
as I’ve gotten closer
to it myself.

She is cheery,
there is no other
word for it,
and unrelenting
in her responsibilities
After nearly a year
we are beginning
to work things out,
that I do not want a bag,
and will be there
to get my bread,
even if I am late.

She uses fruit loaf
for sandwiches,
territory I have not
braved as yet.
Every week my husband
ventures out:
California fruit,
seven grain, whole wheat,
though in most things
variety is not his way.
I inflict it on him
because I’m the one
who buys the bread
and can,
and though I think
it is the spice of life
and I never like
to do the same thing twice,
every week I eat Kamut.