Black Cake

I built a citron tree last night in the backyard. Went up easy. No strings attached this time either. 

I think my banana tree was mostly relieved, if not feeling a little curious, but I didn't pause for conversation. I worked quickly to avoid mosquito bites, and what explanation could I have offered other than a continued monologue about moving to NYC for divinity school. 

My banana tree has pretty much already heard it all. 

Then, this morning, first thing, I procured one and a half pounds. Into my woven basket the fruits of my labor fell, stems still attached. Good girth in the hand, larger than lemons, but roughly the same weight. 

Yesterday, all that stood between me and Emily Dickinson's black cake: one and a half pounds of citron. 

No problem.

And I realize we're dealing with a 107 degree heat index, but I also unearthed nineteen chicken eggs from various neighbors. Couldn't stand the idea of riding my bike to Publix, and my car was recently towed. Five pounds of raisins. Two pounds of sugar. One and a half pounds of currants—this likeness, endearing.

Today, I learned how to measure butter in pounds. 

One whole nutmeg per shoulder.

Not a soul asked questions, and one elderly man even donated a nearly full bottle of Honey Bee brandy for the cause. I nodded solemnly, braided pigtails, sweating. 

If I was the prayer cloaked in white, this man was everything else. 

Do I seem like the sort of woman who would halve, much less quarter, an Emily Dickinson recipe for the sake of convenience? 

What I mean is: my cake pans, they were full, so I had no choice but to locate a behemoth milk pan. 

Who am I kidding—I never possessed cake pans to begin with.

Have you ever set your oven's timer to five hours?