Thank you to those of you on Instagram who give me poetry prompts. This is a prompt I used a couple months ago. I loved how this poem turned out. The prompt was “cake!!!” I am perpetually cursed with not being able to fully enjoy a moment because I am already sad that it does not last forever. I am constantly more aware of how I will remember it than that it is happening. This makes me nostalgic as it is happening, and it makes me deeply observant and drawn to the smallest details. This is a poem about cake, but it is also about this struggle.
She likes her cake and she likes to eat it too.
She likes her cake with cream cheese frosting
and blue and pink frills all around it.
She likes it to be too pretty to eat.
She likes to eat it by the pool under
fairy lights, feet in the water, all alone
now that they have all gone home.
She likes the way the flames dance above
the thin wedge of wax.
She likes breaking the candles in half when
they are taken out of the frosting.
She likes to lick them off first.
She likes the way the eyes sparkle before
the flames are blown out and the little black
smoke lingers until a waving hand sends it away.
The backyard still smells like smoke
(they had a bonfire during the party.)
And she likes that he kind of tasted like
that when she kissed him at the gate.
And when I say that she likes her cake
and likes to eat it too, I mean that she wishes
she didn’t feel sad while she sits by the pool
under the fairy lights.
She wishes she didn’t want to cry
when the candles are blown out
and the boy kisses her.
She wishes that these moments
didn’t end or didn’t exist at all.
The sugar sits on her lips,
in her stomach.
It begins to hurt.
Everything begins to hurt while it is good.