A surprisingly long cake making poem

The sound of children playing snowballs,
and someone practicing singing
a female voice, stopping to repeat a phrase,
singing it over, right.
I am sifting sugar, two ounces,
into two ounces of melted butter,
and stirring it in with my good blue whisk
a Christmas present from my aunt, years ago.
Outside snow is falling
against the hard dark sky
laced with branches.
Last week snow squeaked underfeet
and then grew hard
as rocks by tide-pools.
At minus five now, it feels warm
with the balcony door open
children play out in snowpants.
The cases are in the patty-tin,
white against black, twelve of them.
I break a brown egg into the bowl,
and whisk yellow-gold yolk into cream.
There is a dog barking somewhere far off.
Next I peel an apple, quickly,
and chop it finely, fast,
with my old black knife
half way through the twenty-five year guarantee
that once seemed endless,
Quickly, the apple into the batter,
stirring, chopping more, finely,
avoiding the core, the skin,
fast, before it can brown.
A golden apple, well, a russet.
They’re good now.
Outside one child is taunting another.
I lift the whisk out,
sift in the flour, two ounces,
people will use ounces for cooking
when they live on Mars,
measuring them by volume
because of the gravity
and because it’s easier.
I always measure weight by volume
but I don’t get it about cups.
How slowly flour will sift
in one third gravity.
Cake will taste the same.
Ounces are cooking scale
you never need enough to find out
they’re part of some crazy system.
Grammes are a lot too small.
In the Mouths of Mattapoissett,
people will eat cakelings,
full of enthusiasm
caring about everything.
It took me a long time to see
it was the enthusiasm I liked
that passion for doing.
I fold in the flour, and all at once
it is beautiful, edible,
yellow and lumpy with apple,
I spoon it now,
carefully, into the cases
dividing it with the spoon
not dripping, twisting it in.
It will be twelve good cakelings
for dessert after dinner,
for every day lunchboxes.
I sprinkle the tops, fast,
with cinnamon and sugar,
barely a teaspoon,
and in they pop,
into the piping oven,
for twenty minutes.
The children are laughing out there now.
The woman is singing in Italian.
The cakes are in the oven.
I call my child in for dinner.

26th January 2003