Apology for Bread

Inez Tan


On this day, like every other, we need bread. This loaf
before me, the least of its kind, was not made
to feel ashamed by the hands that arranged it gently
facing outwards with the others, snug and proud

on the supermarket shelf. Last week, someone loaded
bread onto a delivery truck, and someone
will drive the plastic wrappers to a garbage dump
afterwards. Someone is weatherproofing a house

for refugees in the suburbs, someone is serving drinks
on a plane, and someone is holding a protest in the terminal
where people have been detained for nine hours
without food or water. Bread—even in a child's hands,

this load is nearly weightless, nothing
but flour and empty pockets, the legacy of less
than a gram of yeast, though not too little
to matter—everything it touches will rise.