bread box by Bianca Amira Zanella for Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Kitchen I promise to invite you over when this is all over. Over strangers will come to break bread at my table. I will put in the work this time knead the bread – quit avoiding what I need – Pray with me before we slather the honey and after the meal, let’s offer gratitude to the greens. We will not gossip at this table, we will share stories of honor and truth. Someone will inevitably start laughing while chewing, and, there will be a cough, and an auntie will instruct, “Raise your hands, Look to God!” and they will drink water, holy in another way, and they will laugh again and we will all be okay – and on my left, the neighbor whom I have just met – he’ll say to look in the bread box for hope. But I don’t have a bread box. To him, “homemade bread is the indicator that everything is where he wants it to be in his life.” But like I said, I promise to put in the work this time: I’ll wear the apron, I’ll make the rye, the sourdough, the French loaf from scratch and everything will be where it should, except the bread – the hope – if you believe what he believes that it belongs in a box – no – in my house the bread will be in our belly and everything will be where it should be in life. Only crumbs will tell our story.
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Bianca Amira Zanella is a cis queer Vermont-based performance poet, artist, and advocate living on traditionally Abenaki land. She is the Poet-in-Residence at Phoenix Books, hosting an international monthly open mic. Her poems have most recently appeared in The Artful Mind, The Rutland Herald, The Mountain Troubadour, and The Reverie. Their poem films, sculptural poems, and poem paintings have also been on exhibit with PoemCity Montpelier, Merwin Gallery, Stone Valley Arts, SPACE: a Pop Up Art Gallery, and Surdam Gallery.
They received the Corrine Eastman Davis Memorial Award for their poem, “A prayer –before the soup– for the suicidal son” (2018). In 2019, Bianca acted as Wellness Coordinator for the Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam (FEMS) tournament based in Cambridge, MA, and founded “Infinite Lit: a night of spoken word poetry,” co-producing the series alongside Moth storyteller Michael Kingsbury.
In 2020, Bianca founded The Paper Poet, offering healing poetic experiences to anyone experiencing suffering and continues to perform around the United States and globally, including reading for the American Club of Brussels and competing at the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Dallas, TX. Bianca Amira attended the Ruth Stone House 2021 Next Galaxy Poetry Retreat and was nominated for the Presidency of Poetry Society of Vermont. In 2022 as PSOV President, she hopes to connect diverse poets across the state to create community.
Stay connected with Bianca by subscribing to The Paper Poet’s free newsletter full of resources and events at thepaperpoet.com and/or on Instagram @thepoetbianca