the butter sculptor

he used to think in metal.
put on his gloves & watched his father
sodder scrap metal into monsters.
their backyard was full of brambles 
& broken wood. living trees tangled
with the dead. his fathers sculptures
were his nightmares. he used 
to look out the window of his childhood
& see them slithering around the yard.
the first image he carved in butter 
was a simple rose. he did so 
with a silver knife at the dining room table.
sectioned off cubes & made each 
a new blossom. contemplated 
what it was about butter that craved
to become new. dreamed all kinds of shapes:
a carousel horse & a dragon 
& a bear laughing on his back. 
taught himself how to work with softness.
this was something his father never knew.
soddering arms into place. saving buckets
of beer bottle caps for eyes. 
the silence between them in the weeks after
his father saw him kiss a neighbor boy
at the end of the street. that boy's hands
like butter in the dark as they took turns
sneaking into each other's bedrooms at night.
he always expected to be caught
but never was. it was a shared understanding
both that he loved other boys 
& that his father would never speak of it.
he would never go so far as to carve
a boy from butter but he did carve hands.
small hands & large hands. these were
the ones he ate. slowly dismantled 
with his own morning toast. 
it is so hard to be fed. people by 
his sculptures now. he takes custom orders:
dogs & cows & horse faces. he craves 
this task of rendering a body 
even soft than it lives. works gently 
in the cold kitchen. tells himself 
"i am nothing at all like my father"
as he traces the shape of an eye 
in the yellow oily surface.
wipes his hands on his work pants
& thinks of the sound of a bottle cap
falling into a bucket.

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