My little choux baby
puffing me up with airImage 6 (smaller)

Even with gentle pressure
I can feel my fullness. It’s like I’ve
feasted on bread all night. Bloated
by your fingertips stretching out.
Filled with this yeasty life,
I’m expanding from inside out.

Kneading into your soft skin,
I watch flesh-like dimples appear.
Sprinkling flour on your forehead,
Lightly dust, it says. Your body takes form,
growing limbs and a head.Image 4

Just one thing stands between us.
Part mother, part child, part other.
Like the spare pastry left once the
gingerbread child has been cut out.
All that holds us together are the
apron strings tied above my waist.

Pulling and massaging my stomach,
feeling where you are. Yet through this
grainy smeared window, I see you
now tucked up in this womb.intestineyplaitedloaf (smaller)
Waiting for your chest to rise,
I can’t be tempted to hold you yet.
All will be lost once your body
is brought into this world.

Cracking my skin open, you
slither out, yolk still intact.
Picking shell from the surface,
I let the egg wash over you.
This albumen binds us together,
Setting us in one another’s arms.

Extended Thoughts

I enjoy the squeamish aspects of both the images and poem developed whilst experimenting with dough as the body of mother and child during pregnancy. I felt so passionately about how interconnected baking and pregnancy were that the words of this poem kept coming to me in waves over the six months; a perfect way to way to express my research and the emotions felt whilst baking.

Even reading it now, I feel such a connection with the act of imagining dough as an unborn child growing, of massaging it as I would my own rising bump.

For me, more than anything, this poem is about the impatience that I and many women feel for the birth of their child, much like the impatience of baking where one must sit and wait for the dough to rise and then bake. Even before it is a loaf of bread, it is loved and nurtured like a rapidly approaching unborn child.

There’s also a certain amount of emptiness written into the poem, a certain lack of child, that I might only be reading as a childless ‘mother’, constantly searching for my own motherhood. The true feeling of trying to create both a pregnancy and a child through forming, rising and baking dough.

Finally, she sighs. The bake must be ready now and gosh does it smell good.

About Jasmine Gauthier

Jasmine Gauthier is a young British artist, born in South Africa, whose photographic and written work currently explores the relationship between the maternal mind and body especially as a ‘childless mother’*. Her work often blends fiction and autobiography, creating its own narrative…Read more

Website: http://www.jasminegauthier.com

More posts by Jasmine Gauthier

4 Responses to “Poem | My little choux baby puffing me with air”

  1. Helen Sargeant

    The visceral quality of the images is compelling makes me think of flesh, of intestines, of the insides of bone. I knead out my frustrations on bread dough. I often wonder whether the bread will turn out sour and nasty tasting, but it has no feelings. It feeds the family but its not Mothers Pride ! x

    Reply
  2. Jasmine Gauthier

    I couldn’t believe how the images came out at first. I’d be baking and I’d see or feel something medical, I’d snap something, and continue the process. Over and over. Then looking over the photographs later, I could see this visceral quality coming out. I’m still unsure what to do with the images really. 🙂
    Due to my distractions, stopping to photograph, letting it overprove to see what would happen, etcetcetc, the work I made mostly didn’t taste right but we ate every bit of it. Pizza, cake, weird alien-looking loafs, buns, biscuits… everything fed us even though it tasted strange and unfamiliar.

    Reply
  3. Helen Sargeant

    The images would work well in the form of a recipe book. These images also remind me of Helen Chadwick’s work such as Loop my Loop and Laura Godfrey Issacs padded paintings. All I can think of is the body and flesh when I look at your images, and they reminds me of the messiness of mothering. Giving birth is all blood and shit and pee and water, labouring and relief that you and your baby have made it into the world. Looking after babies is lots of changing poo and wee nappies, clearing up sick. Lots of ins and outs. Milk in poo out. Poo changing colour and consistency as the baby grows. All fascinating. Then the food gets super messy at the weaning stage. Fantastic for playing and exploring, but oh the mess. Congealed food on chairs peas rolling over floors……..Be great to see images of you eating the food, I like that you ate every bit of it……Have you read “The Edible Woman” by Margaret Atwood ?

    Reply
  4. Frances Earnshaw

    My daughter explained to me how yeast works in bread, as she had just learned about this in science. She described it as, the yeast is alive, and it is tiny little cute mushrooms in the dough, and they all breathe out. That makes the bread rise. The gas bubbles expand in the heat, and then the poor little tiny yeasts die!

    I love how my daughter sees the world!

    Reply

Leave a Reply