Poetry Pause: French Toast
by Anya Krugovoy Silver
Pain perdu: lost bread. Thick slices sunk in milk,
fringed with crisp lace of browned egg and scattered sugar.
Like spongiest challah, dipped in foaming cream
and frothy egg, richness drenching every yeasted
crevice and bubble, that’s how sodden with luck
I felt when we fell in love. Now, at forty,
I remember that “lost bread” means bread that’s gone
stale, leftover heels and crusts, too dry for simple
jam and butter. Still, week-old bread makes the best
French toast, soaks up milk as greedily as I turn
toward you under goose down after ten years
of marriage, craving, still, that sweet white immersion.
I crave stories.
A couple of years ago I went to a flea market with my friends Liz and Christine. We looked through the clothes, the antique housewares, the jewelry and the shoes. The space was large, and we drifted all of it, bobbing along like corks as we fingered the textures of yesterdays. Eventually we became mired in boxes and boxes of postcards and photographs, sorting through the memories of people that we will never know, personally.
I bought about a dozen of my absolute favorites, including this picture of Dan and Leah at their 50th wedding anniversary party in 1978.
They sent this holiday card to their friend Ada. On the back, “Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Good New Year.”
Today’s poem made me think of them, so I decided to share this photo with you. I like to concoct stories about Dan and Leah’s life, their marriage, what they did that holiday just before the 80s. I wonder if they shared a sticky rich romance, thick like maple syrup, sweet as strawberry jam. I wonder if they were describing, as well as wishing. “Much Happiness.”
I like to think so, but I’ll never know for sure.
Pain Perdu. Lost bread.