Thursday Poem

For the Forty Soldiers of the XII Legion Fulminata

Sift the flour three times:
for fear, forgiveness, faith.

Make a nest in the middle
and pour milk.

Think of frozen Lake Sevasta
embracing martyrs.

Let yeast foam
and bloom a warm flower.

Break the eggs.

Think of ankles and kneecaps
broken by hammers.

And lemon zest,
glowing crowns of saints.

Melt butter.
Think of ice melting on soldier's skin.

Mix with oil and knead
until the dough speaks and breathes.


Pound and throw the dough 100 times.
Torture it.
Tell it to renounce God.


Add sugar,
pinch of salt, of patience.

Leave it by the oven to rise, alive.

Make figure eights
shaped like humans,
with heads and bellies
of braided dough.

Brush with beaten egg.

Align the small army.
40 soldiers of the XII Legion Fulminata
go straight into the fire.

Sink them in honey,
sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Think of the forgotten ones,
known or unknown.

Think of the unindentified,
missing, vanished.

call out their unspoken names.

For them, break apart the macinici cake.
Take a bite of its soft body,
fragrant and sweet.

Ask forgiveness for the wandering,
fugitives, lonely

ones that lived before us
and are gone.

by Claudia Serea