Mentioned in Minnesota 

And funnel cake. ‘Now what is that?’
‘You pour the batter into fat
down a long funnel.  It is Dutch;
fry, roll in sugar, eat it hot.
It is fair food.’  In noise and frost,
crusts’ sugar thick enough to choke,
doughnuts, that spun like Saturn’s rings,
have floated me through bonfire smoke.

Some cakes are lost.  Glossed black with seed,
the one grandfather’s mother made
plump, widow-sharp with caraway,
though re-created, shrank and greyed.
Some cakes are found.  I tasted one
from a married woman’s hand,
gift to my husband, honey rich.
I stole the recipe and planned.

I could not taste my mother’s sponge
without feeling the Fifties plunge
prim as white sugar.  Passion cake
brings coffee-shops, the lover’s lunge.
The Celts knew cakes: the long flapjacks,
treacle, like winter sun, oozed through.
A landlady brought frail drop scones
in Scotland’s West, where fuchsias blew.

Which is the one I choose to make?
On Christmas Eve, a chocolate cake,
four eggs, heaped cocoa, beaten hard-
one hour until the domed crust breaks.
Milk buttons, walnuts, make its crown,
black cherries ooze.  I taste feast’s day,
a single slice, wrap dark fruit in
the bag my daughter bears away,

Alison Brackenbury

(To be published in Then, Carcanet, April 2013)


If you have any comments on this poem, Alison Brackenbury  would be pleased to hear from you.