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Here’s the prompt:

Today, I challenge you to write a poem about food. This could be a poem about a particular food, or about your relationship to food in general. Or it could simply be a poem relating an incident that involves food, like David Ignatow’s “The Bagel”.

My response goes back a long way:

The Cake Stand

It was about my height
in deep, dark wood
inset with shining butterflies:
mother of pearl, you said

On Sundays by the fire
we would start from the top
and work down, sipping tea
from flowered china cups.

White triangles of sandwich
or soft bridge rolls filled with
yellow mashed banana or
pink salmon from John West tins.

On the middle tier a cake,
an iced Victoria sponge;
or your warm scones, spread
with garden strawberry jam.

At floor level your shortbread
cut out with crinkled edges,
pricked with four fork marks
and dusted with sugar.

On warm summer days you took
the cake stand to the garden,
filled it with strawberry tarts,
listened to birdsong.

Years later I touch the glass
of a museum case and see it;
the dark wood, the butterflies
and my memories.

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