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Issue 19

A Powerful Cake

Lee Upton

Issue No. 19 • Spring 2018


Would you care for
     more cake with your cake?
It’s a cake beyond all cakes, isn’t it?
     In the interior
a little bit of summer in a pouch
     and a buried pencil case, plaid.
You say it isn’t your birthday
     so why the cake?
The chainmail, we admit,
     makes slicing prohibitive,
and the rosette, we admit,
     looks like a scar that won’t heal or even a
bullet or a tattoo gone wrong.
     But we made it for you, this cake,
and those right there are blister pearls,
     edible inside that oyster that’s open
as a coffin with a gelatin lung
     on the rim.
So eat your cake before
     your cake crawls away,
which can happen if you’re not alert.
     We know you can’t thank us enough.
We once saw a baby who looked exactly
     like a rat. That baby grew into
a handsome man.  So today if
     you don’t like your cake, wait.
If the time isn’t right next time we’ll outdo ourselves.
     For now, it’s your cake
and it’s not going to eat itself.
     What? You’re going to
set fire to the cake?  Oh! Then it must be
     your birthday after all.
We have our ways—with cake
     and without cake.
It’s really our cake anyhow.