The Birthday Cake: Original Poetry by Lucinda Shaw Chatham

I heard you were in town
    and my heart leapt wildly

It was your birthday
I made you my favorite “Lord Baltimore” cake 
with the special “Seven-Minute Mountain” frosting
I whipped egg whites for seven hot minutes 
over a steaming double boiler until they stood up 
in high peaks of white meringue

    baking from scratch is a labor of love
I placed two layers of rich moist yellow cake
with thick icing in the middle, on a plate
    dressed it with the frosting 
and covered it carefully for travel

I forget how I got the address
but I drove with my cake to the city
found the street, the apartment, the stairs 
and rang the bell with great trepidation

    but after all this, I stood
	resolute, trembling
I was let in by an older woman, a poet in blue 
I knew her by sight from around the beach
I wondered if you were sleeping with her
or was it just an old story

we put my cake on a round table 
    in her living room
I had written words on top in colored icing
I’d taken two lines from one of your poems
and changed them around in a clever, humorous way
to honor your birthday, your poem, 
the cake delicious


you refused to see me 
I turned and went out the door
    leaving the birthday cake on the table 
    uncut, untasted

Lucinda Shaw Chatham

I love words and love maneuvering them into language that expresses personal feelings and experiences. I enjoy discovering new words in the thesaurus. I would describe my poems as honest, vulnerable, and evoking strong emotions, such as pain or love. Many of them are descriptive poetic vignettes telling stories about people, animals, nature; things I am called to share. I started open mic readings again, after many years, here in Lake Co., and was on KPFZ radio several times. Currently, I’m on Zoom participating in Georgina Marie’s group, as well as several other Zoom groups I found. I enjoy sharing and hearing what other writers, around the country and the world, have to say. Poetry connects us in giving us voices in safe environments, in these desperate and difficult times. It’s starting to feel like a community worldwide!

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