pencil marks on wall track growth

I Need Your Recipe for Chocolate Cake

Do you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe
to share with me?
I would like to bake a cake
for this boy. When he was born
eighteen years ago, they held him up under all that
borderless white light, no corners, no edges
and time stopped. No one was born.
No one died. We met being to being
like we had stumbled through
a little tear in the space-time continuum.
Time was slow when it was slow.
When he was little we had so much time
we could roll around in it—
we were slathered in time. Some days
stretched out like a cat, or a year,
milestones were chronicled, fine neurologic
brushstrokes, sit, crawl, walk, words
and words upon words,
check marks and trophies,
wheels, soap, song, sleep,
the things he made in school,
a construction paper squirrel
with a tail made of glue and grass hare.
We knew he was growing
when his toes pushed through sneakers,
like roots in nature—pencil marks
on a door frame, my palm knew degrees of fever,
and all kinds of nouns marked time,
buds and leaves, leaves on the ground,
snow and trees,
snow on trees,
headlights on roads,
the double line down the road’s center,
double-lined paper with scratched arithmetic,
crust left on plates, the years when food
was beige, zippers, buttons, laces,
short hair, long hair, high voice
low voice, the cadence of him
padding down the old, creaky stairs,
quicker and more curious than his dad’s
middle-aged tread,
how when he asked a question
and I answered he always said, ‘oh,’
shorthand for ‘I understand.’
Time was fast when it was fast—
dreams soaked up the rain and dried
as practical matters—hubris gave way to caution,
parents became ash,
the sun came and went.
He grew as tall as his dad.
The other night we turned the corner onto our street, faint bluebel,
rouge-trimmed December sky.
First out of the car he
walked ahead, he
had grown up.
I see him now, day after day,
walking away.
Do you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe
to share with me? I would like to bake a cake
for this boy.