You cannot use your knife or fork or teeth too quietly.
- Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society, 1843
There is always a cake that says eat me.
Currants, like the pupils of small eyes,
the open mouth of the mirror
showing how you’ve grown -
your wrists ballooning
and your thighs two chimney pots.
The world’s a doll’s house,
trampled by your tread,
of your left feet.
There is always a bottle marked drink me.
Your open and unsteady palm,
the room outgrowing you,
the ocean of the carpet,
tabletop becoming sky.
Among the skyscrapers of furniture
you could forget yourself,
a longed-for, liquid
the way your limbs contract,
as if you should be on a cake yourself,
a three-tier, sugar-spun affair,
a wedding in July and you
on top, in marzipan, in miniature,
the laughing bridesmaid
with her caught bouquet
and lilac dress who bends
towards you saying:
isn’t she good? Doesn’t she
look like a real woman?