It was two days before my 27th birthday
when I had my first madeleine.
I had gulleted half before I realised
what it was; a sponge-shaped symbol
that I had yet to eat, yet had now ate.
I suppose I do not know if it was
a good or bad madeleine – apologies
to my host – but it deserved more
attention than I gave it and better
antecedents than those multi-pack
lunchbox fillers that fluff recalled,
which were all I could recall, are all
I can now recall. The mouth stuffed.
The contracted throat, narrowing like years
and flavours until I am not so sure
I did not – never? – ate this cake before.
Ever! Not sure we are not eating always
the same cake – iced again and re-trayed,
candles just traces of wax in hollow party hats.
Any old conch held so to your ear makes
a sound near enough like the sea. Near
enough. Shush. Eat up! My first madeleine?
It was two days before my 27th birthday.
Emily Hasler's collection Natural Histories is published by Salt.