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The Cake Makers

by Beverly Jackson

 

“The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence” ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

In the heat of a large country kitchen,
(think back to Southern plantations
with sideboards and planked floors
live oaks silhouetted at the windows
sunrays dappling a farmhouse table
in the middle of a steamy room.)

A dozen aproned aunties-skin black
as cast-iron pots, – kerchiefs ‘round their hair
sit on wooden chairs- animated, laughing,
spilling soft gossip with rolling eyes.

Palmetto hand fans push against the
Rising waves of heavenly scents.
Newly-baked cakes. Lemon and coconut,
vanilla and chocolate doesy-doe on the air.
Pastel frosting gleams in bowls:
soft peach, butter-yellow, and pink.

I am being summoned by the senses,
But history’s call is not a dream.
It begs to be remembered not as the glow of
Pastel icing on strong African hands,
But in bloody red and the sepia tearstains of
antebellum walls. The Cake Makers beckon me.
Come make the cakes, they call. We’ll teach you how.
The time has finally come for you to learn.
Come, they titter, come.

 

Beverly A. Jackson’s short fiction has been nominated for BASS (Best American Short Stories) and Pushcart Prizes; Her work appears in over eighty print and online literary venues. Her poetry chapbook “Every Burning Thing” and her 2-volume memoir, “Loose Fish”, are available on Amazon, and her first novel “The Eye of Hachiman” will be published in 2019. www.beverlyajackson.com

 

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “The Cake Makers”?

The recession of 2008 was still hard at work in 2014 when I lost two homes ( one, my dream house for retirement). It was not a good time in my life, and I began dreaming uneasy dreams. One odd and persistent dream made me question its meaning, and became a daydream ultimately finding its way to paper.

Since the world today gives me great anxiety regarding our country, our politics, and many of our people, I reconnected to the poem in new ways. History has a way of pushing in on us in mysterious ways. Poetry and dreams both carry secrets, hiding places for all those warnings that are not understood, but come to light with time.

News

Congrats to Christopher Allen for having a work from HOUSEHOLD TOXINS being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now CLOSED. Check out our new category triptychs! The next submission period opens September 15, 2019; submit here.

Upcoming

09/05 • Richard Baldasty (1 of 4)
09/07 • Briel Felton
09/09 • Chelsea Stickle
09/11 • Jeffrey Spahr-Summers
09/12 • Richard Baldasty (2 of 4)
09/14 • Frances Badgett
09/16 • Sarah Russell
09/18 • Ryan Stone
09/19 • Richard Baldasty (3 of 4)
09/23 • TBD
09/25 • TBD
09/26 • Richard Baldasty (4 of 4)
09/30 • TBD
10/02 • TBD
10/03 • J.I. Kleinberg
10/07 • TBD
10/09 • TBD
10/10 • Lilian McCarthy
12/02 • Tara Campbell