Second Birthday
by Karen Vande Bossche

Something’s always missing:
today two eggs. I look through
cookbook substitutes, equivalents.
One medium egg equals one
fourth cup egg substitute,
as if such a thing existed
in my refrigerator.

Banana, applesauce or even tofu.
It’s more a lack of prudence
than a vegan problem.
I could lie say my high
cholesterol is the reason.
Perhaps a subconscious
sabotage of all things home
ec. Why don’t I just
go to the supermarket.

But I couldn’t sleep
last night. My class of
edgy adolescents were
their non-compliant selves.
The rain created boulevard
bedlam. I just wanted
to go home. Just wanted
to drink wine. Just wanted
to complete and put
something away.

The half-started red bowl
of butter, sugars, and
a teaspoon of vanilla,
stares blindly at me
without its yolky eyes.
I sip my wine, pause,
then tip an oxygenated pour
over the creamed landscape.
The drinking woman’s
cookbook, I say with a little
smile and open the
pantry door to possibly
find flour.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My birthday cake 60 years ago. Gotta start that sugar habit!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written because I was having a sugar fit. I don’t cook and there were no goodies in the house. As I knocked around in the cupboards, carrying my glass of wine, I realized I did not have the makings for a cookie. All the better for me to write about what would happen, rather than make and actually eat cookies. Poetry has fewer calories.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Vande Bossche is a poet and short story writer who teaches middle school to students asking questions such as, “Aren’t you too old for a tattoo?” Some of her more recent work can be found in Damfino and Damselfly and is forthcoming in Sediment (October 2015) and Straight Forward Poetry (Winter 2015). Karen was born in the Midwest, raised in Southern California, and is firmly planted now in the Pacific Northwest. She believes that writing is one of the few venues to continued sanity in today’s world where surface is overrated and depth is needed.