Cookie Cake. by James Croal Jackson

I cut cookie cake with plastic butterknife
a birthday my age is showing not my celebration
in the office a long way to the center I repeatedly

say I slice some New York pizza I shape
a biscotti I am the awkward focal point
struggling through the cake rock my boss

offers me a Swiss army knife I refuse
she swears it’s clean the PEOPLE want
a show they want to see struggle

bellow hands shaking through thick paper
plate after plate she says I’m impressed
you didn’t break
and my piece is

so sweet I can barely eat I
do it anyway the work
I put in deserves dessert

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has three chapbooks: Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022), Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021), and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights, 2017). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, PA. (