Peanut Butter

Thank heaven we buy a natural brand rather than one
that’s poisoning the public as reported in today’s news,
our kind the one with a thick layer of oil on top

you have to stir into the stiff brown glop beneath
so it will spread with ease onto bread
without ripping it to shreds. First you insert

the tall-handled wooden spoon mounted with a carved moose
your friend brought as a gift from Russia, and begin blending
as the oil drips down the side of the jar

onto the counter settling into the grout between the tiles
and you remember how your mother used to slather
her naturally swarthy French skin with olive oil

for a delicious tan but when you did the same thing
your fairer complexion burnt to a crisp
and then your mind drifts to the La Brea tar pits in LA

bubbling up fossils under a full moon
so you move to more drastic measures as you must
in matters attempting to penetrate the surface of things

and you dump the whole mess into a large bowl
mashing and kneading until the texture
is something like wet cement

but when you try to fight it back into the jar
you notice how the agitation and your own vigor
have caused it to expand something like the miracle

of loaves and fishes but you’re hardly Biblical, swearing
with a thick tongue trying to lick the slop
off your fingers and face, while it seems to be rising

like the price of oil itself and the more you try to beat it down
the higher it goes, the wider it spreads and you wonder
if that isn’t the way of oil, not to stop until it slicks over

every bird and boat and beach, country and continent
until we burn and slide helplessly together
in the muck of our making, just to satisfy a Permian hunger.

(c) Perie Longo

In Atlanta Review, (Fall 2007) and Baggage Claim


Perie Longo
Looking for Jamal

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