Birthday Cake

I was thinking about the birthday cake
you bought me,
The one we cut together
at your girlfriend’s house,
while she photographed us
like it was our wedding.
I remember dragging her
out to the garden
because I wanted to watch her
do cart wheels,
growing bored and twisting spider webs
into candyfloss with small twigs.
I remember spinning batteries
on the table until the noise
made her mother shout.
I shrank down and stayed
that way until the parrot bit
your finger.
I used to let things go
Easier than I do now.
I remember your girlfriend
driving me home with half the cake,
getting up early the next day, sitting
behind the sofa,
sharing it with the dog.
When my mum got up
she scolded me.
I can’t remember what she said,
but I remember thinking she had
a lot of lines in her forehead
when she was angry.
I was thinking about how many times
I’ve thought about this stuff.
How I don’t even need to think
of it any more,
how it plays like a movie
on the ceiling
when the moon has its face
pressed against the window,
and I’m burning out
on the bed.
I feel like your girlfriend’s father sometimes.
A head without a body,
cemented in front of a flickering screen,
unable to change the scene
or turn it off completely.
All the things I remember,
I don’t remember if the cake was good.
But I imagine it was dry
and disappointing
The kind that gets stuck in your throat.

Karley Denniston

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