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Butter

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Butter, like love,
seems common enough
yet has so many imitators.
I held a brick of it, heavy and cool,
and glimpsed what seemed like skin
beneath a corner of its wrap;
the décolletage revealed
a most attractive fat!

And most refined.
Not milk, not cream,
not even crème de la crème.
It was a delicacy which assured me
that bliss follows agitation,
that even pasture daisies
through the alchemy of four stomachs
may grace a king's table.

We have a yellow bowl near the toaster
where summer's butter grows
soft and sentimental.
We love it better for its weeping,
its nostalgia for buckets and churns
and deep stone wells,
for the press of a wooden butter mold
shaped like a swollen heart.

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Butter

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  • Born in Madison, Wisconsin, poet Connie Wanek grew up on a farm outside Green Bay and in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She was educated at New Mexico State University.
    Wanek’s poetry collections include Bonfire (1997), winner of the New Voices Award from New Rivers Press, and Hartley Field (2002). Her image-driven poems often engage nature and natural order. Praising Hartley Field, poet David Orr observed, “Wanek is from Wisconsin, but her sensibility often seems Eastern European or Scandinavian. Like Szymborska, Wanek likes to end poems with poised yet cutting observations or intimations of dread that can turn ordinary activities into existential dilemmas.”
    Wanek’s honors include the Willow Poetry Prize, the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and a Witter Bynner Fellowship at the Library of Congress. She co-edited, with Joyce Sutphen and Thom Tammaro, the anthology To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present (2006).
    She lives with her...

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