Friday, September 23, 2016

Butter 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.


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