The ancient Egyptians broke their teeth on bread
when stones in the dough
bit back at them. The Romans
gave bread to the poor. The English
in their most elegant age
used sieves of Chinese silk
to sift the finest grains of flour. Alpine bakers
made loaves to outlive winter.
In the hours before dawn
bread fresh from the ovens
lies stacked like dreams
that leave their mysterious taste
on the tongue of a dreamer
waking up after a long journey
through his mind. He has navigated through
his fears, committed crimes
for which he can never be punished,
traveled the world
only to arrive in his own bed
where he rubs crumbs of sleep from his eyes
before turning back the sheets. The house
is still dark. He can't pull free of the images
that came uninvited in the night
as he switches on the radio
and listens to his daily ration
of indigestible news. While truces end
his bread awaits him.

David Chorlton

DAVID CHORLTON was born in Spittal-an-der-Drau, Austria, and grew up in Manchester, England. He lived in Vienna for most of the 1970s and became conversant with Austria, as well as travelling around Europe with watercolours and train schedules always at hand. He also committed his first tentative lines of poetry to paper before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Since then, his interests have broadened to include issues all the way from war and peace through music you rarely hear on the radio to Arizona's many colorful birds. Poems have appeared piecemeal in a long list of literary magazines and collections of poetry include Forget the Country You Came From from Singular Speech Press, and Outposts from Taxus Press in Exeter, England. His translations of prose by Austrian writer Hans Raimund appeared in 1997 from Event Horizon Press as Viennese Ventriloquies. His newest collection is Common Sightings, a winner of the 2000 Palanquin Press Chapbook contest. Essays, reviews and other prose have appeared in a range of publications from Arizona newspapers to Poet Lore magazine. His paintings, mostly watercolor, have been exhibited in Austria and the United States. This is his second appearance in The Adirondack Review.