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The Endowment of Butter - Rebecca Evans

I gift my sons a love of butter,

scooped by the spoonful

from the ceramic crock left

on the countertop. We worry

not that it’ll rot. It never

 

lasts that long. We’ve perfected

the heat beneath the glass

warmer, clotted and creamy

pours over steamy

pancakes. Or the careful fill

 

of every waffle pock. And the

slabs set in ice, holding their

shape while we roll ears of corn,

dressing each kernel as if a life

depended. And those puddles

 

softening the heart of velvet

garlicked potatoes. And what

of those pats who sat atop

shaved parmesan, fading

into fat egg noodles?

 

Nothing like that fake

stuff I grew up with—

brewed of plastic & trans-

fat—clogging heart-

valves, lifting LDLs, leaving

 

something sticky like the way

a lie lingers, and later,

haunts. Or the way Mother

hid bruises on her daughter’s

face—protecting

her husband’s fist.

 

I toiled for the real deal,

the slightly salted

sweetness spreading ‘cross

my tongue, sugaring my

throat like pudding, or

banana cream pie.

 

I worked hard to grant

my sons their greasy

grins, their side licks

on upturned lips, glazing

the stain of ancestral hurt

into a curdy afterglow.

 

Rebecca Evans writes the difficult, the heart-full, the guidebooks for survivors. Her work has appeared in Narratively, The Rumpus, Brevity, and more. She's earned two MFAs, one in creative nonfiction, the other in poetry, University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. She’s authored a full-length poetry collection, Tangled by Blood (Moon Tide Press, 2023), and has a second poetry book, Safe Handling, forthcoming (Moon Tide Press, 2024). She shares space with four Newfoundlands and her sons in a tiny Idaho town.

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