The narrator of "Bread" describes a pleasant day spent with her Italian lover. The couple goes to a bakery and fills the entire backseat of their car with loaves of bread. She calls these loaves “fat-ass bread” in Spanish, and her lover responds in Italian. Together they tear into the loaves and play loud tango music. The narrator says everything feels perfect, “like when he wasn’t married, like before his kids, like if all the pain hadn’t passed between [them].” As they drive through the city, the lover talks about how “charming the buildings are.” Meanwhile, the narrator indulges her own perspective, remembering when she was younger and her cousin’s baby ate rat poison in one of these buildings and died. “That’s just how it is,” she says, and the couple drives on, letting their new and old memories mingle as they kiss “between big bites of bread.”
In “Bread,” Cisneros looks at the transcendental and fleeting moments of connection that often arise between lovers. There’s no doubt that this is a happy memory, one that celebrates the small joys of life like eating bread and listening to loud tango music with a loved one. By dwelling in this moment, she reveals an understanding that even bad relationships contain happy moments, since it’s clear from the narrator’s reference to “all the pain” that “passe[s]” between them that this relationship is not blissful in the long run. Still, the lovers are able to bask in this joyous day, sharing bits of their respective languages and cultures with one another and allowing their memories—new and old—to mingle, creating a composite perspective through which they can both view the world, if only for an afternoon.