“Making Carrot Cake During the Plague” by Jeanette Lynes

I have no raisins.
The larder holds no coconut.
No pecans.
Drat, out of nutmeg.
Short one egg – O, I saw her –
Aisle five, the woman who carted
Last carton of eggs perhaps
In the world. Her eyes above her
Mouth-mask told me, ‘too bad, loser,
I got here first.’

I do not love humanity.

My languishing carrots
Spongey but pressed into service.
Desperate times demand carrot cake!
(After all, how often are we really,
Fully, up to the task at hand?)
I’m fresh out of spiffy similes, magnanimous
Metaphors. Scraped
Last month’s cream cheese from the tub.
I wonder what happened to the chickens.

Who am I kidding?
I know full well what befell
The chickens, early farm education
Taught me. I think of my mother,
Depression years, scratching a cake
Into being.
She had no raisins.
She had no coconut.
She had no pecans.
No nutmeg (remaining cloves
Applied to aching teeth).

Today if she returned long enough
To call out my bee-ess she’d say
My not loving humanity is malarkey.
She’d be right (I was just out of sorts).
If she returned
Long enough to fashion a cake from mud I’d eat it
Bare-handed, beyond happy.