Baker's Dozen • Shahé Mankerian

At sunrise, 13 bakers avoided
the coffee lips of their wives
and stepped out of separate houses.

13 bakers, on separate sidewalks
full of snow, far from being
comrades, kissed the coal-

mining Pittsburgh cloud
on the forehead and walked.
These bankrupt men full of yeast

and yawn in their steps, slowly
wiped their feet at the threshold
of heat. Good morning, Fred.

Good morning fell like dirty
breadcrumbs, like the bicycle boy
with newspaper headlines:

Into the Furnace—Mouth
Wide Open. To burn, to burn,
to burn…13 times, before

releasing each soul like a cough.


Shahé Mankerian is the winner of the Erika Mumford Prize from the New England Poetry Club and the first place winner in poetry of 2012 "Black and White" anthology series from Outrider Press. His recent poems have won Honorable Mentions in both Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and Arts & Letters Rumi Prize for Poetry. Also, he was a Semi-Finalist at the Knightville Poetry Contest in 2012. His poems have been published in Nebo, Spillway, Riverwind, and Ellipsis.