Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Your convoluted paper house
made of fragile tunnels, a network of flowers,
hive of papery straw wrappers, sunbleached like dead coral,
and you built that house pressed into the top corner
of the outcropped roof, above the pool,
reappearing every May or June
just as I was racing my brother
to tag the drain first this summer
We filled with terror
when you came flying in,
spinning in the air and playing your violin,
neon yellow and black and raging in the sky,
my head sucked under the water with a mouthful of air--
And was this the moment my youngest brother realized
if he exhaled before sinking,
he felt inexplicably calm
about staying underwater for good?


  1. Combine the dry ingredients first because something about how if this cement touches water too soon, it will become not a corrugated tower but a terse brick.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients (but not the eggs) with the sugar because the sugar dissolves into the butter when you beat them together, it turns glossy yellow, divining down from the whisk, pale yellow silk.
  3. Beat the egg whites separately because they expand slowly into aerated styrofoamish clouds, pearl sheen when they stiffen, the whisk twists and gathers them into soft towers, mountains and valleys topped with soft, slick fog.
  4. Fold them into the batter because of the satisfying "thump" they breathe when you drop them on the buttery surface, because of the variegated stripes that form as the spatula gondolas in circles around the mixing bowl's edge.
  5. Split this batter into three pans because a three-layer cake is a tower, a fortress of floors and floors made for kings.
  6. Put them in the oven because these floors will construct themselves with invisible hands, balloon-blowing yeast inflating into a thousand tiny rooms.
  7. Pour simple syrup over these layers because it perfumes these rooms with shining gloss, fills them with silk and morning.
  8. Frost it because now it is only crumbling drywall, because a palace like this needs smooth white plaster, that soft sweet safe membrane from the heat, from the rain.