Zebra Cake

Four years old,
     and I’ve already been schooled.

I know disobedient
     boys split open eyebrows and bleed,
big brother Bob
     is a doggone money magnet,
it’s not okay
     to be naked in bed with a girl,
Quisp and Quake
     may be great commercials on TV
but really not
     so delicious in my cereal bowl,
big sister Elane
     delights in imprisoning me indoors,
shingles and dirtclods
     find open mouths when airborne—
and treble hooks
     catch far more skin than fish.
When I hear
     “You can be anything you want,”
I know this
     to be a casually shallow lie.

By and large,
     I think too much for anyone’s good.

But when Mom
     asks what I want for my birthday,
I still manage
     an unfathomable, bizarre request.
“A zebra cake.”
     Yet I don’t really know what I ask.
“Use your words,”
     they say, and I do—but still fail.

Somehow, this once,
     Mom intuits my underlying desire.
My fifth birthday,
     and she delivers a stunning miracle:
midnight and butter
     cake mixes deftly swirled together
so every slice
     sports the exotic stripes I imagined.

Oh, yes—I have been schooled:
     words can create.

About Greg Wright

I have worn many hats as a writer and editor over the years. Unlike my scholarly and journalistic work from the "old days" at Hollywood Jesus, Past the Popcorn, or SeaTac Blog, the writing here is of a more overtly personal and spiritual nature. I hope it provokes you as much as it provokes me.
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