The Baby

by Christine Adams Beckett

The Baby, he called it, 
His sourdough starter:
The essential ingredient 
To his sublime pizza pies,
Fired in a wood oven, 
Constantly attended with a
Familial passion that seemed
To transcend what we were eating,
Devouring, more like it,
Goofily smiling at each other
As if this simple meal was
Something more than it appeared
To be,
Served in a hole in the wall
with steamy windows, facing
Deserted streets of a sleepy
Neighborhood.  “Don’t eat
It or it’ll be gone!” you said,
It was too perfect to eat,
This meal, culminating a 
Similarly exalted day, “We’d better
Drive carefully on the way
Home, as something’s got 
To give…”  Give?
Like the sacrificial baby with 
Neapolitan roots, started and fed
By a doting mother who would 
Nourish the world, a Columbian
Exchange of her love, her life,
Much like the Brazilian votive
Left on a Rio altar, in thanks 
For a safe delivery: moulded in 
waxy cultures, a Giza starter,
A Red Sea starter, a sacrificial
Lamb, an Isaac, that found its
Convoluted way to us, 
Astounded at our good luck 
For blessings that are never
As small as they seem.