Homemade Bread and Coffee 



Teach me about the south. Is it in the dialect? I can politely ask 

for rosemary—and as for myself, I remember a hound sulking 

at the foot of a tiered angel food cake. A hound sulking in her 

apartment (which was the basement of our apartment), sighing 

a cobalt midnight refrain as he slept. He doesn’t play the banjo 

anymore, my grandfather. He doesn’t ever even say please.


All I have to go by is what I’ve told me—my grandmother 

courted a banjo-slung crook-boy after his time, and the other 

made pottery. There was rust in her voice, or acrylic in her, 

or my voice. And when my mother got fed up with her own, 

it was a host of unfinished paintings to line the walls with. 


The other. The last painting she rocked on her heels in front of 

was an adobe house that felt like picking any new dead-end street 

and any house on that street, maybe two from the end, and imagining 

what my life might be like in it. Maybe it would be an apartment 

in some clay-cliff basement sporting crosses and slinging sprigs 

of rosemary, like thin frames. In the doorway, I wait for a howl.


Sarah Toomey is a junior at Harvard College. She has workshopped with Jorie Graham and Josh Bell, and has been published in The Harvard Advocate as well as local poetry magazines in her home state of Connecticut. She is a 2017 recipient of Harvard's Edward Eager prize for undergraduate poetry.