Loved Then, Loved Now: Recipe for a Sidewalk

Kate Braid as a carpenter, as a capable woman. As a queer woman holding space for herself and others. This poem and poet struck me hard.

Recipe for a Sidewalk 

Pouring concrete is just like baking a cake. The main difference is
that first you build the pans. Call them forms. Think grand.

Mix the batter with a few simple ingredients: one shovel of sand
one shovel of gravel
a pinch of cement.
Add water until it looks right.
Depends how you like it.

Can be mixed by hand or with a beater called a Readi-Mix truck.
Pour into forms and smooth off.
Adjust the heat so it’s not too cold,
not too hot. Protect from rain.
Let cook until tomorrow.
Remove the forms and walk on it.
There is one big difference from cakes. This one will never disappear.
For the rest of your life your kids
will run on the same sidewalk, singing My mom baked this!

Kate Braid

It’s existence opening possibility more than any phrase within blew my 20-something mind.

And as I build a cabin, as we mix concrete, as we build piers, as we frame walls, I think of this poem.

on site, framing walls

It’s like Phil Hall says in The Ash Bell in a poem for Philip Levine there’s something about writing about the lost work glove. Concrete and real. And power in that. In “dried mud falling from the laces” He wrote “I miss what poetry/expected from me then/a hard go of it in silence/among strangers.” p. 84.