Carolyn Krieg   © 2013 All Rights Reserved

Ted Hughes Bakes a Cake

The oven does not behave itself.

Ted wonders if the oven is a Scorpio,
if the pilot light is cognizant
of leaving without the grocery list.

He sits on the kitchen floor
before the ovenís hot open mouth
dangling a pocket watch in the wavering, toasted air.

He puts the oven under hypnosis. He suggests
that the oven should never have applied
for that Fulbright. He reminds the oven of the night
they met, when she bit his cheek, drew blood.

He puts down the watch and shuts his eyes,
tries to remember the mouth
pregnant with sweet bread.

On good days, the oven
clicked on at 4 AM, hours
before the children woke, warmed
the whole flat, baked
blue ribbon pies.

Today, the oven has other ideas.

When Ted Hughes snaps his fingers
the oven sighs.

He places a heavy cake pan on the center rack,
leaves the door open. Falls asleep
in a straight-backed chair,
does not see the pilot
light flicker out, again.

He does not wake
spinning in natural gas.

He does not stir
when the flame jumps up
once more, blue tongue,
to lick the scarred cheek
she knows so well.


Emily OíNeill
Copyright © 2013  

Emily OíNeill is a proud Jersey girl. Her most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Whiskey Island, Paper Darts, Weave, and FRiGG Magazine, among others. She edits nonfiction for Printerís Devil Review and hangs her many hats in Somerville, MA. You can pick her brain at

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