a wooden floor

i once saw a photograph
of an old farmhouse kitchen
with a wooden floor
painted robin’s egg blue
it was faded and worn in spots
from a tireless tread up and down
and round and round the table
i tried to imagine
the woman who worked there
baking biscuits, churning butter
mixing, rising, kneading
rising, kneading, shaping
rising, baking the bread
the wood fire in the big stove
scenting the walls with smoke
i could almost see her —
sleeves rolled up to the elbows
hair pulling loose from heavy braids
the beginnings of crowsfeet
gracing the corners of determined eyes —
when did she last see the sunshine
spill over her blue wooden floor?