Lemon Cake

My mother pushes the plate away,
setting her silver fork down;

Harriett’s Special Blend has quenched
her thirst (my skin gets a heated sheen);

near us a young girl swings her legs,
her mother’s hennaed hair hangs down.

Four p.m. I am fifty next Wednesday,
not knowing how so many years

are consumed in sips & forkfuls.
Another chunk of sugared sharpness —

perhaps I should take a photograph,
capture what’s left of life’s moment;

but the neighbouring couple’s changed
into an elderly man and his wife;

he eases himself into place & asks
if I’ve been to Bettys of Harrogate,

I tell him no but I’ve been to Rome,
and by the Spanish Steps a tearoom

very like Bettys where maids in aprons
serve fine tea in a blue-cream setting,

how romantic he says, & I think of
John Keats, dying in youth and sadness,

of names unwritten in tea or water,
hear my mother repeating herself

to the elderly wife, & I lift the refilled
cup (a tearoom is a sort of hallows

where the slips in time are steeped)
& commit to finishing it.



About the Poet:  Sarah Law lives in London and teaches for the Open University and elsewhere. She has published five poetry collections, the latest of which is Ink’s Wish (Gatehouse, 2014). Other recent poems have appeared in Antiphon, Eunoia Review, Snapdragon, Stride, Blue Pepper and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Follow her on twitter @drsarahlaw


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