Olive Oil Cake and a Raspberry 

Taneum Bambrick
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It’s Wednesday night in California. 

We sit on metal chairs, which shriek 

like helicopter blades clattering across the cement 

of a repurposed parking lot. Two of us take turns 

describing our heartbreaks that have gone 

and gone. Layers of bark peeled off closed trees. 

The third pets her silver dog; she answers 

and nods along to stories she’s already heard

until her water glass empties. 

Another party—older, a woman and man—

finish their steamed potatoes and stand to leave. 

The man swats my shoulder. Says, classic 

case of a guy wanting what he can’t have, I’m afraid,

he smiles milkily. When I laugh, 

my chair cranks back and the dog squeaks. 

The noise embarrasses me. It simplifies the scene: 

the yellow parking line under my left foot, 

our leftover olive pits, flecked with stinky meat. 

I have exhausted myself. My friends. One breakup drew 

the child out of me. What do you need, you fiery baby? 

Tonight splits with jasmine and evaporated lake. 

My mouth is enormous. It tastes sweet.

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