I chose Devil's Food Cake every birthday.
My grandmother spun it from scratch, breaking
eggs into a deep metal bowl, while I sat on the high
yellow step stool with the fold-down seat.
She hid money in the cake, folding pennies, nickels,
and dimes into small pieces of waxed paper. Her fingers
poked these little packages into the bottom layer,
spaced out about a coin a slice.
We hoped for a dime, or that one time, a quarter.
That was big money in 1971. A quarter might buy
two candy bars. I cared less about the treasure
buried inside and more about the chocolate.
How many people would I have to share that
cake with? Would I get a big enough piece?
Would there be some leftovers for tomorrow?
I didn't know why the cake was called Devil's Food.
I liked my doughnuts deviled, too.
Devils didn't scare me. My father was the Devil--
a Capricorn, which corresponded to the Devil Tarot card.
I learned that from my parents.
My birthday happened so seldom. I hoped
the Mad Hatter's idea of Unbirthdays would catch on.
They never did. But now, years later, I can celebrate
every day if I wish. Tuesday seems like a very good
Unbirthday. I'll soften the butter and stock up on cocoa.
I'll wrap the coins carefully,
This Tuesday, it'll be a party of one.
All the coins are mine and I don't bother portioning
the cake. I eat across it with a fork.