Real Plums, Imaginary Cake

This morning
I made a cake
from dust and ashes
to see how it would taste.

Would it be harsh
or honeyed?

Would it coat
my lips with memory?

Licked and swallowed,
would it
fill up my belly
to curb the ravenous?

Or would it catch
inside my throat
mask words and breath
in sweet, sweet silence?

In which Alice serves up plum cake, illustration by John Tenniel, with a nod to Mary McCarthy for her fab quote about the task of writing “I am putting real plums into an imaginary cake.” Poem ©2018, Jen Payne.

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