the barbaric butter eaters of the north
versus olive oil imbibers of Greece and Rome,
root cellar gamboge of France and Ireland,
shunned by southerners with urns of viscous flow.

the richest butter, high in fatty acids and omega3s,
over 90 percent milkfat,
yellow emperor of peasant abundance,
vein strike of gastronomic gold.

butter yellow as the nimbus of saints,
banned during Middle Ages Lent,
the ghee of India, doing hot yoga
smothered in butter,

tender springtime green grass
easily digested by cows,
speeding through four stomachs,
yielding the most saffron butter.

from the sweet to the tangy,
the feminine power of milkmaids,
bringers of butter to country tables,
before machines replaced them.

today’s yellow brick road back to butter,
finds oleomargarine on its way out,
that hydrogenated marketing darling of late 20th century,
letting butter melt again onto our tongues,

as it has the past 8,000 years,
starring butter by the pat, the stick, the tub,
the roll, the vat, the crock, the bucket,
the kitchen comfort aroma of pasture butter.

my mother, who put butter on everything,
stayed thin as a stream of water,
had the cleanest veins
the angiogram techs had ever seen.

kindergarten mason jar of heavy cream,
passed in a circle child to child,
shake after shake, each imagining a stick of butter
would emerge.

buttermilk left over for pancakes,
shortbread cookies, long on butter,
Julia Child’s arsenal, butter by the pound,
butter drizzled into hot-baked potatoes,

sliced down the middle,
butter left on the table for three days,
yeasty bread buttered on both sides,
the sexy creaming of sugar and butter.

fresh popcorn holds fast to a whole stick of melted butter,
the butter lamb resurrects at Easter breakfast,
recycled butter becomes cow sculpture at the state fair,
butter of yak, sheep and water buffalo,

butter yellow as New Mexico license plates,
butter yellow as the third prize ribbon,
butter yellow as the gates of heaven,
jealous, pale butter dyed bright

from crushed annatto seeds.
butter of logic-defying hollandaise,
butter massaged into turkeys before roasting,
the spectre of every simple food raised by butter.

luscious, buoyant cream arises,
skimmed off and cultured,
the churn moves up and down,
in and out,

the wood cylinder moans,
the paddles slow,
the moon is full,
the butter comes.