The Why of It by Louisa Howerow

POEM NAME: The Why of It AUTHOR NAME: Louisa Howerow POEM: You know before you start you won’t succeed in creating the ideal pain français, not the crackly kind you’d buy from a village boulangerie, not even if  you follow Julia Child’s instructions and advice,  accompanied by drawings. Twenty pages worth. You don’t have the right flour with its precise  gluten strength. You don’t have a baker’s oven  with a fire-brick floor. You still haven’t mastered how to form the dough into the shape you want,  but you will go at it again and again, because  you want your muscles doing, keeping busy, taking you away for seven hours, plus  three for cooling down. You like the elastic feel of the dough, its smoothness. The kneading,  the scraping, the lifting and the slapping down.   Repeat, repeat. Yes! Moving fast, creating a rhythm. No matter how the table shakes, you work that dough, until you’re spent. If   there was a river, you could beat your wash on rocks, or a carpet to bang out on a fence,  but you don’t have river or a carpet or fence.  All you have are muscles making good, doing something they’re learning to do, believing they can keep death at bay.   END OF POEM. CREDITS:  Copyright © Louisa Howerow Previously published in Fresh Voices 20 from the League of Canadian Poets  Louisa Howerow’s poems have appeared in a number of anthologies, among them: Gush: Menstrual Manifestos for Our Times (Frontenac House), Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press) and Tending the Fire (League of Canadian Poets.)  Her poem, “Why Scrabble,” was selected for Poem in Your Pocket, 2020.