I shall bake a cake.
Because I hid under the chipped wooden counter
at the dole office, wondering what ‘redundancy’ meant,
I shall set out the cream, break a chocolate bar
into pieces, like a sacrament.
Because my mother paced the hours into the bare
floor, her face tight as dried fruit, I squidge
coins of butter through my fists, think of her
tap-tapping feet as I sift the flour,
then grate a lemon’s belly with a bailiff’s mercy
because her pleas shredded into tears
through that multiple-choice, categorically—
chicken wire grille.
My recipe? An interpretation of how she said
and what she meant by ‘seven weeks, seven weeks?’
drawing breath as if hoarding it for the winter,
and a little ingredient of my own:
all the flavours of that morning and thereafter
melted into one of few kinds of easy richness—
this golden cake, which I shall devour whole,
just because I can.