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By Calvin Forbes

The slice I ate I want it back

Those crumbs I swept up

I’d like my share again

I can still taste it like it was


The memory by itself is delicious

Each bite was a small miracle

Both nourishing and sweet

I wish I had saved just a little bit


I know it wasn’t a literal cake

It’s the thought that counts

Like a gift that’s not store-bought

Making it even more special  


Like a dream that makes you

Want to go back to sleep

You can’t have your cake

And eat it too Momma said


I was defiant and hardheaded

And answered yes I can too

The look she gave me said boy

I hope you aren’t a fool all your life


Source: Poetry (July 2011)

Poet Bio

Calvin Forbes teaches writing, literature, and jazz history at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.” 

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