2Cakez – A Poem by Allison Kaye

2cakez

One wears combat boots that lace up
over the legs she
calls too big but her friend says are beautiful
and she keeps herself inside the fence
sometimes afraid to open it and let people in
like the child who went back to using training wheels,
after a traumatic crash,
she fears trusting.
But: she knows how to be fierce
fearlessly exciting crowds
when she walks into the room it seems like she is bringing a cake,
not the fancy chocolate layer cakes her friend makes,
but a cake that is moist and rich and deep and exotic and rare-
sweet pineapple laced in coconut,
and everyone wants a slice
sometimes she only lets someone have just one bite
once she gave a spoonful to her friend
and just as it entered her mouth and she was ready to indulge, it was taken back.

Her friend’s chocolate layer cake is huge
because everyone she knows has tastes of it,
people come back for seconds and thirds
and she keeps baking
smiling
sometimes sinking,
covered in flour
with butter dripping down her apron:
she whips up another double batch
of buttercream frosting
before she lays her tired head down,
she sometimes still feels alone: alone
despite all the people she has served and let indulge-
she keeps baking these cakes, handing them out like rice thrown at a wedding
but it is who she is,
a sister to all, her unlimited pounds of sugar
brown, white, powdered, cane
no artificial splenda or sweet-n-low or equal

Two women, bound together
by something stronger than the liquor they toast with
something deeper than the pile of clothes
that fills a room
something deliberate
the exotic cake and the chocolate cake grow from each other,
these two women teach each other how to bake the cakes in ways they don’t even comprehend
through the spills
and the burns
and the lost recipe books
and when cupcakes become popular
they keep baking
in their own styles
nudging each other to hand more cake out, hand less cake out.
never rewriting each other’s recipes,
but tweaking them in ways that are sensational,
they are the 2Cakez.

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