Rum and coke. Rum heavy on the vanilla, coke light on the bubbles. A fistful of ice. (Charlotte Newbury)

Remember the summer I learnt how to bake?

Remember my horoscope warning about giving and giving and never once considering the taste.

We were learning that too much vanilla was possible. That it was easier to swallow than argue. That an unbaked cake glues teeth together, tongue to palate, throat to other-side-of-throat, falls like an avocado pit to the base of your stomach. Rises there, with your gorge.

We were learning that a cake without a rise is a specific pain. That a loud sound near a souffle scares it into self-sabotage. That all the recipes say you must slam your macarons if you want them to wear a skirt.

All the sugar on our teeth. Waking with the scent still in the air. Beating batter until I ache, and still never stopping each instance of salt instead of sugar killing the yeast.

Sugar between the tiles like grit, becoming a hidden, sticky lake on cleaning day. Out of reach but for the press of my finger, the sugar strand of your hair I never could scrape out, trapped in essence like old bugs in amber.

Anyway – bring back my syrup lungs. Come press your cloying hands to mine.


Charlotte Newbury is a poet from South East England with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter. She likes witchcraft, ecofeminism and spider plants. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in LandLocked, Perhappened, Severine and others. You can find her on twitter @charnewbpoet.