House of Bread

Photo by YesselNay on Wikimedia Commons

Matthew 2:6; Micah 5:2

I once spent an afternoon in Laja.
A small town on the Bolivian altiplano,
Laja is a village of bakers.
People all over the region
seek out pan de Laja,
a flatbread made of wheat,
water, oil, and pinches of salt,
sugar and yeast. Its taste gives
me a sense of high lands,
open skies, and distant Andean peaks.

My friend, Victoria,
comes from Laja. Her father
bakes bread for a living.
I spent an afternoon with Vicki’s
dad, kneading dough, forming small globes,
letting them rise, pancaking them,
then shoveling the bread
in the adobe oven
with a long wooden spatula.
I felt proud, at the end of the day,
of my accomplishments.

Laja gives life
to the surrounding communities.

Bethlehem, House of Bread, a small town
in the Judean foothills, is also known
for a product that blesses surrounding
communities in ever widening ripples.
Sought after by some, rejected by others.
The Bread of Life.

Nancy Thomas

Nancy Thomas is the poetry editor for Friends Journal, and lives in Newberg, Ore.

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