Restraining and retraining and refraining, 

Making the best with yeast—

Kneaded and wrought: 

Knowing only how to rise—

Occasionally and above it all.


Neither baiting

            Nor being baited.

Neither bullying

            Nor being bullied.

Neither hurting 

            Nor being hurt

Nor herding

Nor herded.     


Healed and tamed.


Restrained by an inner lasso:

            Constrained by a baker’s recipe—

            Retrained with a wink and a pinch:

                        In a wrought-iron skillet

                        Over a smoky campfire.

            A dash and a sift:

            On a rancher’s frontier,

                        Westward ‘ho.

Entertained on a sturdy soapbox:

            Preaching to the pamphleteers:

                        In this hot democracy

                        Over scalded, sandy earth.

            Un-rash and close-fit:

            On a cosmic frontier,

                        Skyward ‘ho.



            Baker’s dozens.


            Ranchers’ brandings. 


            Marriage of equals:

            Beefy and sweet.

            Healed and tamed.


Restraining and entertaining and containing,

Squared on stage with beasts—

Heeded and fraught: 

Knowing, now, when to whisper—

When to speak softly and when to roar.



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