Charlotte – Final Scratch Draft

22 Feb

The Gay Cake

I am the gay cake
I whisked eggs in the plastic bowl with the melted lip
Pushed my short self up onto the bench to find the flour
On the top shelf of the corner cupboard
Peeled off the over-thick, ribbed lid of the seventies yellow jar
And released from the deep a rumbling NO, NO, NO
Slid my tiny hands into the cool white starch
Touched a steely NEVER NEVER NEVER

I am the gay cake
My fear walked me past the Ballymena Academy bus stop
Knowing they were supposed to be different
Mummy wanted to send me there and I told everybody
I wanted to go too because Religion wasn’t compulsory for GCSE.
Years later I walked past the Remembrance Poppy Garden and realised
It had never, ever crossed my mind to go in there

I am the gay cake
I was silent during Confirmation
When I had to promise everything away
And I was embarrassed but proud
I read about myself in the bumper Sunday supplements
When I was supposed to be studying for Religion GCSE
I selected myself from a shelf in the landing because I looked challenging
And I moved all the NMEs from the men’s lifestyle section
To the women’s and wished I could go to gigs in Camden

I am the gay cake
They refused to bake me in Ashers Bakery
Their spoons too flat, flour too contrary
Spatula too soft, oven too tepid
Equality summoned The Law to come down hard
In punishment for their beliefs
To teach them a lesson
About tolerance

I am the gay cake
They warmed me through and I was crispier
I could see more clearly, hear my own accent as both a strong, loving grandmother
And an embarrassing uncle whose jokes weren’t funny anymore
And I would never raise my children where you could not freely bake
Or refuse to bake
A gay cake

I am the little gay cupcake
And my mother tells me
Shame you’ve got that boring English accent
That would never have withstood the St Louis Grammar bus stop
Did you know that in 2015 it was illegal to refuse to bake a cake like you?
It’s not illegal now but nobody refuses
They saw themselves in George Wallace’s mirror in Alabama in 1965
And realised how stupid and weak they looked
Your flour is now soft and silent, the spatulas are smooth
The spoons are perfectly concave and the oven is 190degrees

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