Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"The Cake" by Mary Soon Lee, Poet of the Week

The Cake
Mary Soon Lee
 
After years of guilt
and plausible excuses,
I told my daughter, age six,
that we could bake a cake.

How many years
since I baked a cake?
Long enough to wonder
how to cream together
the butter and sugar.
Unshaken by my uncertainty,
Lucy measured, sieved, stirred,
greased, poured, asked permission
to sample one glob of batter.

When I pulled the twin cakes
from the oven: too dry, too flat,
Lucy watched as if witnessing a wedding.
Together, we sandwiched the cakes
with chocolate frosting,
topped them with white,
and Lucy drew a shaky snowman
beneath a hail of multicolored snow.

So many days I feel the weight
of what I haven't done,
but Lucy takes me by the hand
and makes me better 
than I am.

Poet's Notes: I wish that every time I sat down to write, I produced a perfect piece. Alas, it often takes me several tries to get close to what I wanted to say. I wrote the first draft of this poem in January 2011 and have revised it several times since then. Each time I come back to the poem, it is like time travel, returning to the days when my daughter was young. Now, years older, she bakes cakes quite independently (and kindly allows me to share them).


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