Benjamin Mast- “baking”

i’m afraid of yeast of the way it grows of the way it’s alive
of the way i hear it in my loaves as they’re left to rise
of the way its smell is sticky semen between fingers
i’m afraid of the starter in the fridge of its unwhiteness
and the way it separates unsupervised like a dressing
or boys and girls at bethany christian’s first dance
i’m afraid of unpredictability of bubbling of chemistry
of first dates and the way they should go of biking at night
with too much cash in my pocket but mostly
of doughs that could have been muffins studded with cranberries
and topped with orange zest their only agent soda
or powder but instead that sit waiting for life so as to rise
out of the oven out of the apartment with only a floury trail
showing the distance they’ve proved so i sit with an aching
loaf between two hands wondering how i could be a father
how anyone could be a father if life is so particular


Benjamin Mast grew up in a small Mennonite town in Indiana, but has since been more nomadic, living in Chicago, Seoul, Virginia, and Indianapolis, before recently deciding to move to Seattle. Wherever he goes, he seeks good literature, good food, and good volleyball. His writing has most recently been published in Rhubarb Magazine, The Write Launch, and The Phoenix Literary Journal.