Whisking Butter with the Best of Them

"Butter" and "Cream," a poetry debut by Eliana Gies

Whisking Butter with the Best of Them


Do you remember play dough, cookies, clogged sinks,
water and corn starch; water and flour? My point is –
do you remember sinking in hands and teeth?
do you remember kneading, like dough, like biscuits
like rolling cookies?

Do you remember whipping cream by hand?
No idea when to stop, trading off the
whisk; we never could make a decent pie crust
either of us, but we could whisk butter
with the best of them –

effort without end. My point is remembering
is like that: you scrape up the cream and you beat
and you beat and you beat and you beat and you beat
you remember over and over and over till
you get butter.

Looking at the horizon, when I see mountains,
stiff white peaks, I see you there
at the precipice, the perfect whipped cream –
The rest at the top, the effort that stops, the cream
before the butter – no whey, no curds, just light
and airy. Rich and barely there, I see you
everywhere there’s effort.


A dozen suns like little oranges,
fish-scale clouds in early morning filter
soft light through powdered milk:
cataracts in the eye of memory.
looking back at patterned silk pathways,
lactose sensitivity, your skin like cream.
you skimmed off the best for me, the rest for her:
full price fruit bottom yogurt with the fat on the top – cream of the crop;
fresh milk in the glass bottle; fruit of the loom multipacks
in fatter stacks of twelve and twenty – land of plenty;
cottage cheese, warm sheets, corn and peas,
curry, beans; coffee with cream.

Food bankers often enough,
but good thankers; plate-cleaners all of us –
penny-pinching, penurious; hearty and hale.
I take my coffee pale.
clutterers of rooms, halls, cloisters,
stoop doctors, steps-cloyers,
real estate lawyers.
couch-crowders and porch-goers,
grind the beans, wash the filter, wait.

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