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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell

Let Him Eat Cake


I’d like to write poems with Billy Collins,

invite him to sit next to me on the center beam

of the redwood eaves crisscrossing my living room.

We will scan the room for subjects and begin with a nod

to the small spider colony In the sunny western corner.

We will thank them for staying put. I’ll promise

to ease up with the vacuum, cohabitate as a respectful roommate.


I’d then introduce Billy to the clock radio in the kitchen,

best friend since lockdown, cooking partner

in Darth Vader black, flashing analog red eyes.

Billy would notice the electrical cord is like a dragon’s tail

as it whips and hisses jealous static

whenever I run the microwave,

but especially when I leave the room.


I’ll show Billy how to slip behind the glass framed photo

by the front door, for a quick trip to Rangoon

a meander around the gold-leaf of the Schwedagon Pagoda.

We might stop to ponder the monk in the corner

and wish we had a ruby robe so we fit in with the crowd,

but instead we would burn a bouquet of sandalwood incense

to leave at Buddha’s massive feet tucked in contemplative lotus.


Next, Billy will notice the bookcase and my father’s vintage

Henzoldt Wetzlar binoculars standing upright

next to “The Ultimate Guide to California Birds”.

He will nod his head and say, “not a bad idea”

when I share my fantasy that the lenses have superpower laser vision.


Let’s focus them towards latitude 55

to hone in on the madman from Moscow,

then forward his bunker coordinates to some stealth hero

who will serve him a surreptitious splash of plutonium tea,

and a nice slice of Rasputin Cake, white, in iced arsenic.




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