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
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.
To Whom it May Concern
For Harry Cobb
Soon I’ll move to Norway.
If that’s a bitter pill,
well, swill, swallow. I’m going,
and I won’t wallow, not in Norway,
where they’re so beyond
slave labor, with laws that say
a clerk must work within five
meters of a window through
which she can see a tree
and by that tree be seen.
My mind’s made up.
I will be Norwegian with Norwegian
trees. I’ll be seer and be seen.
It’s a scenic scene, it’s
how it goes, I’m going.
Tell the top brass, if
they ask, I don’t give
a damn about their asses.
But I will miss the beeches and the ashes.
It’s not their fault I’m leaving.
They’re only trees, and
leaving, I’m Norwegian.
Kilde: Poetry Foundation & Poetry (Januar 2010).
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