Gabrielle Martin: My False Body

Celiac Disease in a Gluten Free Bakery


Inside it was

dim, & I am unsure

if the man waiting was

created that moment just for me –

solid, bearded, so quiet that I forget

to check for a baker’s hands.

He asks if I want something

special & I almost ask about

his hands – were they always

so large, & I couldn’t even see

them but I knew:

huge, hammer-like, meant for kneading

a kind of intimacy for the self

& one other

& the other was once yeast.

Or lack of it, normally so obvious

imitation cakes & breads,

tasteless imposters clamoring

To fix this false body.


My false body wants

to get rid of me,

I can smell it in the flour

crumbling percentages

mixed in sawdust

& my grandmother’s hands

covered in flour.

The only light filters in from the window

& it was already a gray day.

& I am wondering if this

miracle bread could heal me

too – if I could adapt despite the

descendancy of thousands of

years of wheat, impossible bread

to remind me of the disease,

that robs me of my lineage, could the

baker’s thick hands knead me

into something more whole?

Gabrielle Martin lives in Philadelphia. Originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, much of their formative years were spent shucking corn. Their work has appeared in Flyway Journal of Writing and the Environment, The Machinery Magazine, and Moonchild Magazine. Find them on Twitter @crabbygabie