Tyson West andElizabeth Akin Stelling








You can’t have too much butttermilk!
By Tyson West

I Wudn’t Made for Buttermilk Summers
By Elizabeth Akin Stelling
Inspiration piece

We always had chicken and eggs.
“Which came first?” daddy would sing,
then Aunt Myrtle’s rooster would crow
as she served us across the long
wooden table in the side-yard.
I grew tired of poultry, fried,
baked, and fricasseed; it never
tasted so sweet as the first time,
afterward turned my stomach.
“Just rotten” a kid might say.

My preference (still is) the pull
of a pan cooked ham-steak, bone-
in– pineapple juice sucking.
Only if the neighbor butchered
a hog at Christmas, and mamma got
fresh fruit from the farmers market.
“Depending on where you was,
food didn’t come cheap, so eat
what the Good Lord puts on the plate,”
went round the table.

Sittin round, out-numbered
by farm folk didn’t help my cause.
I could accept cornbread, the beans and onions,
on as many fingers a week, as you can count ‘em.
But, the crumbling into the glass
of thick and curdled milk, something
they called buttermilk dippin…geez
my life couldn’t get much worse’er.

My grandparents, today, would cringe
over almond, rice, and soy drinks.
Mammaw was a bit more understanding
in the overturning of modern.
“It don’t do much in the ways
of buttermilk biscuits, can’t change
some things,” she’d roll out
every morning. With grape jam,
fresh from her garden, buttered
and slammed into my mouth.

Every summer we’d slip into
the yard and pick tomatoes, slip
beets from the ground. Juice
dripping from the sides
of your mouth. Red stained
fingers, and dirt under the nails.
But my joy was purple stained
teeth from the concord vines.

I wasn’t afraid to taste, to
speak up against my dislikes,
beat the world in a quiet frowning
sort of way. My grin spoke louder
when my brother would coat
his whiskers in a white
buttermilk kiss, and under-
neath the purple evidence
of picking show’d through.


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