100 Dollar Cakes

my aunt told me once –
that red velvet cakes those southern cakes ;
were once made with blood –
voodoo, to make a man fall in love.
So women scraped, stabbed, scoured the quarters just for…
just for… love?
And grandma yells “you eat like a bird”
Her milky opals, too old for love,
the milk of youth gone from her bones,
too young for love the milk not yet stained my marrow
with holes of fragility.
Churn she says
whisk the unbleached flour until it is the color of
ripe tomatoes.
scolding my thoughts in cream,
When all I want to do is probe the hills of his body.

Venus’s Car, Lady in a Bath he picks them all for her –
But, he missed how they walked us into fire.
Hold me,
Velvet marsupials the way they carry their young
cupping themselves in their own lines and curves they fall upside down like lucky pennies.

Careening my neck to see what is behind me,
left with a hole in my pocket and loose change -
lint thrown to the drain.
“Do you have on a red shirt today” confirming my existence, telling me you had found me
Waldo -
in a crowd of the unfamiliar
and my red shirt took the place of those red southern cakes -

How circles meet in a steamed room, compressing into ovals.
you dipping in close to my ear telling me with your eyes and then your lips “ you know I like you right?”

What are people in a liquid state?
Bottled up feelings I sent them out to see, stuffed with the luck of ladybugs. Five piece dominoes
I made you one of those loose rouj cakes
But –
My aunt forgot to tell me to keep making, feeding them to a man to make him stay
So at night I lay awake and it is your eyes that keep me from streaming through the walls.


Rouj : creole for red.





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