"The Moment"

Apr 7, 2014

In those days, Betty Crocker
always called for sifted flour, and so
in homes across America, women sifted.
When my mother's mother turned
the wobbly red knob, hulls and stones
jumped in the wire basket,
but by my mother's time
the flour was fine—
now women sifted to achieve
precision, purity, perfection.
It made the white flour whiter.
Then flour came in bags,
already sifted, and women stopped
making their own cakes and bread,
and didn't have time anyway
for sifting. But for a flicker
of history, my mother stood
staring down the tin cylinder,
the moment shuttered
into tiny parts, slowed
by the fanning blunt blades—
nothing to do but watch
the perfection of time, falling
into the waiting bowl.


Jane Hilberry

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Trained in Medieval and Renaissance literature and Creative Writing, Jane Hilberry now works primarily as a poet. She has published poems in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Hudson Review, Denver Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other literary journals. She has published a book of poems from Red Hen Press titled Body Painting.