Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wake-up cake

(based on suggestions from @mlledelicieuse, @notcharming, @_camer0n)

I fell asleep because when you are three

you just sometimes fall asleep. Mum shed

coconut fur onto buttercream cats and

dotted white bread with tiny bright fairy poo.

I woke in a panic of unlooked-for naps

to find all my guests had arrived.

Unclipped a ribbon of tears and fright that

still visits me on unexpected late wakings.

Brought out a blotchy face that still takes

hours and hours and hours to fade calm.


Only one option in these kinds of emergencies:

Twisties. Inhale crop-dusted handfuls of

orange turds in multiples of lucky numbers.

Eight is fortuitous unless you’re the tail of a snake.

Chain-smoking junk food proved a better balm

than inevitable grazes of helicopter rides.

Powdered cheese saved on musical chairs injuries,

Lurid fingertips produced more winners than

cheating at bobs and statues. It’s always bobs.

Ignore your friends and guard the chips.


My cake loomed creamy and wise as a sphinx.

This modern self looks at edible feline art

and doubts maternal instincts. Constructing the

Women’s Weekly mother of all birthday cakes

is not high on my bucket list of parenting.

Happy baby fists press under my chin and

still-rosy joy is snapped up in the fishbowl

of old cameras. I can see my recovered eyes

but this is feeling the photograph, not the moment.

What I really remember is that terror, on waking.


_____________________________________________

Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:

  • @mlledelicieuse: "Chinese obsession with 8 being a lucky number - 8, 18, 28, 38 etc."
  • @notcharming: "childhood birthday parties with fairy bread and 'helicopter' rides"
  • @_camer0n: "bucket lists"


I fell asleep shortly before my 3rd birthday party, and when I woke up everyone had already arrived, and I burst into tears. I still do this if I wake up late/unexpectedly. Photo one is me chain-eating Twisties to recover from my fright. Photo two is me, recovered, with my awesome cat cake made by mum. (I kinda love how my parents documented both moments). I don't remember the cake, but I remember the waking in fright.

I have so far outsourced all Luka's birthday cakes to my friend Aimee - I love baking, but doing it the night before a party, and icing the damn things is just not going to happen.

3 comments:

ernmalleyscat said...

Love it.
The 'happy baby fists' reminds me of one of my favourite ever images, from Kirsty Gunn's Rain where she describes a baby's 'fists as tight as rosebuds'.

Anna said...

Oh that is a nice image.
I always wondered how baby fists get lined in fluff. And why the fluff is always blue.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

There is no lack-of-cake-baking guilt with Chinese families as baking is, sadly, not part of our culture. Cakes are things which mysteriously appear ready-made from cake shops!