Momma Said

By Calvin Forbes b. 1945 Calvin Forbes
The slice I ate I want it back
Those crumbs I swept up
I’d like my share again
I can still taste it like it was

The memory by itself is delicious
Each bite was a small miracle
Both nourishing and sweet
I wish I had saved just a little bit

I know it wasn’t a literal cake
It’s the thought that counts
Like a gift that’s not store-bought
Making it even more special  

Like a dream that makes you
Want to go back to sleep
You can’t have your cake
And eat it too Momma said

I was defiant and hardheaded
And answered yes I can too
The look she gave me said boy
I hope you aren’t a fool all your life

Source: Poetry (July/August 2011).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2011
 Calvin  Forbes

Biography

Calvin Forbes teaches writing, literature, and jazz history at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.” His first book, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.