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  • Christine Delea

Butter by Elizabeth Alexander

Butter

by Elizabeth Alexander

published in her 1996 book, Body of Life

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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