Butter

By Andrea Cohen Andrea Cohen
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.

Source: Poetry (January 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2010
 Andrea  Cohen

Biography

Andrea Cohen's books include Kentucky Derby (2011) and Long Division (2009), both from Salmon Poetry. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Relationships, Pets, Activities, Eating & Drinking

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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