she rose early to parse
flour through a dented, aluminum
sieve. Three eggs tapped &
cracked against an unfaithful
porcelain bowl.– Chipped; Whisking
the batter with a hairpin wrist. It was always sulfur-
yellow & forced into a bunt
shape too early; Odd creators missing
from where the air tried to escape–
she could never get it right &
what could we say to her? Pulling the tin
from the oven-, heavy, doughy,
& the frosting she’d whip into a grainy
paste; spread too soon, thinning & dripping
into a curdled puddle.
I never saw her dip a finger deep
& place it into the neglect
of her mouth; Her hands
forever running themselves clean along an apron.
This is how she celebrated her birth: slicing &
serving her children a thing she made
also out of convention.
A sterling knife reflecting the disaster
in quick flashes as it divided
our portions into massive, misshapen hunks.
& she would watch our forks lift
to our lips; Trembling, Mimicking
our purse & swallow. Her empty mouth
held by some interior gate that kept her
wanting; The way a dog paws
at a screen door, begging for—still, I don’t know what.