Bread and language are tied at the waist. Bread, as much a word as a spectrum of experience, or a picture, or just a punctum in a picture, or an idea about something else altogether... its translations have never been direct. Synonyms flex and fray and context matters. Its definitions manage to be obvious but also difficult to articulate. Bread is money, bread is life, bread is a bundle of pulverized grain and water smashed together and heated until edible. Which of these is a metaphor?
Metaphors are flashlights for cogencies, but they’re back alleys, too. We’re taught metaphor when young enough to ask why we can’t just say what we mean, instead, but apparently too young to commit to that directness. Zadie talks of Lazy Rivers, like Heraclitus, but I made a bread of flesh. A Frankenstein, product of time and some spores coaxed invisibly from the air.
Why should I call this bread flesh when it’s just flour and water? Does it make you feel sick to think of eating it? Does it do the opposite- cull you to care, to coddle, and savor? To be sure, it’s just bread, but lacking a home or a label. It’s made of a very wet dough poured onto a sheet tray and left to fester before baking. It’s reminiscent of some others (focaccia, a naked pizza), but unyielding of a name. It’s just a flat fleshy thing, and now I know I say ‘flesh’ so that you might understand, without any titular reference, what it feels like from far away. It will either implore you to make it, or the exact opposite.