You can never have too much butter….Everyone
By Andrea Cohen
I’ve never seen the land
of milk and honey, but at
the Iowa State Fair I glimpsed
a cow fashioned of butter.
It lived behind a window
in an icy room, beneath klieg lights.
I filed past as one files
past a casket at a wake.
It was that sad: a butter cow
without a butter calf. Nearby I spied
a butter motorcycle, motorcycle-
sized, a mechanical afterthought
I thought the cow might have liked to ride.
You don’t drive a motorcycle; you ride it.
But not if you’re a butter cow, not
if you’re a butter cow who’s seen, if
not the land of milk and honey, the land
of milk, and dwelled within it.
It had a short life span, the butter cow.
Before it died, I looked
deep into its butter eyes. It saw
my butter soul. I could
have wept, or spread myself,
for nobody, across dry toast.
by Elizabeth Alexander
My mother loves butter more than I do,
more than anyone. She pulls chunks off
the stick and eats it plain, explaining
cream spun around into butter! Growing up
we ate turkey cutlets sauteed in lemon
and butter, butter and cheese on green noodles,
butter melting in small pools in the hearts
of Yorkshire puddings, butter better
than gravy staining white rice yellow,
butter glazing corn in slipping squares,
butter the lava in white volcanoes
of hominy grits, butter softening
in a white bowl to be creamed with white
sugar, butter disappearing into
whipped sweet potatoes, with pineapple,
butter melted and curdy to pour
over pancakes, butter licked off the plate
with warm Alaga syrup. When I picture
the good old days I am grinning greasy
with my brother, having watched the tiger
chase his tail and turn to butter. We are
Mumbo and Jumbo’s children despite
historical revision, despite
our parent’s efforts, glowing from the inside
out, one hundred megawatts of butter.