How does one know when something’s done, when the cycle is complete –
The rise of the palpable dough, the flour-stained surface; the hard rap of a knuckle on the crust of the hot loaf.
The children distracted with slabs of warm bread and honey, the oven door wedged once more, her hand in a mitt: ginger heat wafting into the kitchen, the leavening and the deepening color, lebkuchen and gingerbread losing their raw sheen. A change in the air – the first sheeting rain of autumn washing the dregs of summer away; or the barometer’s plunge, the pure iron descent of winter. Apples giving at the stem, unresistant to the grip of the branch, to the withered gold leaves. Words overtaking any possibility that they might mold themselves to some other shape, hardening to a form ineluctable and sure. The vein exhausted. The last man dead.
–Wintering [ a novel of Sylvia Plath] by Kate Moses