Today's poem is by Sarah Pemberton Strong
How to Make a Birthday Cake
Put one granule of sugar in your mouth.
Find the spot on your tongue that can actually taste it.
Now measure ten thousand times that amount
and set aside.
Take an equal proportion of flour.
Let the flour be fine as the dust
on an inconsequential childhood memory.
Sift through it anyway.
Break an egg against the side of a bowl.
Watch the old sun of the yolk slide out
on its protein trolley of goo; let the egg be
both whole and irreparably broken.
Cream together butter and sugar.
If you have no butter, use the rich fat
of promises, kept or otherwise.
If you have no promise, double the amount
and use cloud. You can always find a cloud around,
unless you're in a prison with no window
facing the sky. If you are in a prison,
this cake will have a file in it. Use the file
to saw gently through what you can.
Let the sulfur smell of the extinguished match
linger in the dark air long after the song has ended.
Let the candle be a candle.
Copyright © 2015 Sarah Pemberton Strong All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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