Carrie Green

It's natural to seek signs
in a candycorn sun

that radiates a plane of white,
to parse the shadows

spiraling down my sides
like smoke-dark ink.

But decoration obscures.
The knife reveals

every crumb of my damp flesh
glistening with messages for you.

Taste past the sugar
to find the pinch of salt,

the hint of spring grass in milk,
the spots of blood on yolks.

Hold them on your tongue
until you discern the hands

that made me. They are small
and warm and anointed with flour.

They sift and fold, they measure
and level, these hands

that have held back your hair
and pressed tenderness

into your temples, these hands
that will always hold yours.






Two sources inspired this poem: a painting by Lori Larusso and the recipe "Zodiac Cake" from the 1971 Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library. "Ask a friend to dress up as a gypsy and tell fortunes," the card suggests. I wanted to see what sort of fortune a cake might tell instead.