Bakery in Winter

A bitter winter morning
and your shoulders clench
against the bite of driven snow
as you head for the bakery
feeling vaguely heroic
in that urban way.
But soon a brass handle,
a wood and stained glass door
swing you in
to an invocation of jingling bells
and the velvety immersion
into the tropic of sweet,
that sugar misted and buttered bliss
as warm and generous
as a grandmother’s big bosomed embrace.
You are not alone,
discover others have been heroic as well,
yet you do not mind the wait,
remove your steamed glasses,
close your eyes and flare your nostrils,
(that mighty portal of nostalgia),
recalling long gone Sundays after church,
the weekly nod to God,
your hand held like a small bird
in your mother’s white glove,
while you took a tip-toed survey
of the soft geometry of pastry behind glass:
Ring of Danish,
Triangled Turnover,
The subtle Arc de Croissant,
Multi-Tiered Napoleons,
A braided twist of Cruller,
until you are asked,
“Can I help you.”
and you open your eyes
replace your glasses
and begin to choose
between what is good
and what is good.

—Guy Thorvaldsen, Madison, WI