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Friday, April 22nd, 2011 09:52 pm
Well, it's sort of an annual tradition now, isn't it? I spent the whole day baking (carrot cake, pryaniki, strawberry galette) so this feels particularly appropriate, even if I didn't actually make braided bread. I meant to do other things, but doing things has been difficult lately, and baking is always a comfort.

Revised a little bit from last year, though not too noticeably.

"take this bread" that once was dough,
left behind in darkened spaces, set upon
a culinary catafalque to rise.
No unleavened wafer, this- it is thick
with yeast and sweet with egg, bound by
floury hands and braided twice
into something more than simple sustenance:
three pieces for the father, the son and
for that greatest ghost; three more for us and
for our virtues, вера, надежда, любовь.
this is more than bread alone: it is spring
and love and hope renewed; it is redemption, it is faith

"take this wine" and drink of one another,
pour yourselves out in my memory. this is the
cup everlasting; take it and drink, to those
absent from this table, to all the empty
spaces we have not yet forgotten.
take this cup and drink for sacrifice
and sorrow, for honesty and joy.
This is more than wine: it is truth and tragedy all
at once and so much more besides; it is forgiveness,
staining our mouths with blood.

please forgive us our trespasses and
pagan inclinations, forgive the smell
of vinegar and my purple fingers, the color of
eggs that will never hatch (no pysanki, these;
ours is a patchwork of pretty pastels.
we prefer our pastoral slaughter to be
as bloodless as possible); please forgive
our substitute sacrifice of marshmallow peeps
and chocolate bunnies. Forgive these palms
folded beneath your grave and graven image.
Please. Forgive. We know not what we do,
only that it must be done.

we partake of fleeting sweetness, a
seasonal indulgence of gingerbread
and jam. the bread won't last the week
devoured by the loaf until it is no more
than the memory of virtue on the tongue-
we must wait until next year, when once again
this dough will rise (in a buttered bowl
behind the toaster, covered by a shroud).

Take this bread and eat it.
Do this in memory of me.