I’ve never seen the land
of milk and honey, but at
the Iowa State Fair I glimpsed
a cow fashioned of butter.
It lived behind a window
in an icy room, beneath klieg lights.
I filed past as one files
past a casket at a wake.
It was that sad: a butter cow
without a butter calf. Nearby I spied
a butter motorcycle, motorcycle-
sized, a mechanical afterthought
I thought the cow might have liked to ride.
You don’t drive a motorcycle; you ride it.
But not if you’re a butter cow, not
if you’re a butter cow who’s seen, if
not the land of milk and honey, the land
of milk, and dwelled within it.
It had a short life span, the butter cow.
Before it died, I looked
deep into its butter eyes. It saw
my butter soul. I could
have wept, or spread myself,
for nobody, across dry toast.