butter makers 

i talk to the cream about divorce.
about severing. this is not science
this alchemy. transformation.
the cows who come into the living room
to play video games & eat sour cream
& onion chips. butter comes only
from the hard truths. the running-start
sentences where your tongue becomes
an aluminum bat. taking a swing
& missing. people are always hurling
apples at my head. canteloupes fall
from the ceiling & that is how i know
my father is home. saw dust on his back
from building coffins. every family has 
someone who builds the coffins
& someone who makes the butter.
i am often the someone who makes
the butter but if we're honest, we trade 
our roles if the sun is sick with strawberries.
i am a fan of everything stale. leaving
the butter on the kitchen table 
until it is a shrugged-off gold. knife
i keep in my pocket. you always want
the butter to be easy. you think it should be
but then it's melting into your skin.
soaked up by wheat toast or a tenderness
you didn't expect from the microwave.
melting the butter into a bridal shower.
into a baked loaf of baby shoes. worn out.
worn too freaking much. i do not want
to find myself again kneeling beneath 
a beast & waiting for cream. the cows 
say, "it was you who said you needed us."
they kick over the mailbox. they break
a window. i put a pad of butter
on everyone's tongue & for a moment
the world is still. there is a jar of nails
on the mantel. the cows stand 
in the yard watching us. it's my job
to make peace with them. i fill a bowl
with honey & sing until they return. 

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