If gender is a climate
mine’s cold, if a landscape,
flat and tidy like rows
of soybeans—that’s what
their eyes bat at me, tucked
behind the belt of their offhand
comments: you’re so wifey, cooed
after a bite into the bundt cake
I baked. The world is the goat
who ate my dress clear off
my body at my second birth
-day party. A second birth,
after which I’d bake spam
mail into my cakes and watch
my cake-eaters fish the shreds
from between their teeth,
listen for the absence of coo.
Silly ole me for letting the lawn
care advertisement slip into the batter
again or the multiplying Capitol
One credit card offers that happened
to get whipped into the cream
cheese icing. Who? Who? My mother
would call you an owl to show you
the absent fullness in your sentence,
as she said my fullness would be a weapon
brandished against me, but that I am smarter
than that. A house of cards I’ll build
from the secretarial emails
I never should have sent. Not my job.
But neither is the cake, nor the lesson
against the assumption one makes
by something as boxed as a store
-bought cake mix. But how I’ve got
them in my fields, braving the winds,
petting the goat away from the path
to see the litter of unpicked beans
between the rows they thought
they’d mapped like the backs
of their slap-happy hands.