The lids would always stick,
Sutured in place by separated oils
And we’d stir through the muck
To mix it back together,
Then argue over who could draw
The best butterfly with a butter knife.
Minutes later we’d suck our fingers
Lick the apple jelly from our lips
Where we ate under the tree that provided it.
The stiff peanut butter would keep our bellies full
As we’d play pickle then ride
Garage sale bikes until the time when dad got home
From work again.
When we were good mom would pat
The peanut butter in powdered sugar
Until the mortar could be rolled into little balls
And we’d snack on them until midnight,
Watching Up-All-Night on a television
That would only play when you’d smack it
Just right with a broom handle.
But we’d sing to Rocky Horror
And laugh at zombie slashers
While we picked the sludge
Of government peanut butter
From the backs of our molars.
In winter it would be the source of cookies,
Mashed with a fork for a criss-cross design,
Leveled on cookie sheets from the 1970s
Where they would bake, always delicious.
Mom would cover them with worn-out towels
And we’d munch for days, along with Quaker Oat bars
That had fallen from a truck.
And come birthday time, she’d mix the nut paste with cocoa
And coat a hand made cake big enough to feed the seven of us,
Plus five friends.
It gave us a canvas. It gave us nourishment.
It gave us variety and memories, but
The greatest gift of government peanut butter
Was shielding youth from understanding poverty.
-David W. Keffer
About the Poet
David W. Keffer is a writer and poet originally from rural Ohio. He fell in love with writing at an early age and married it with film by double-majoring in Creative Writing and Media Production at Kent State University. David has been published dozens of times in various magazines and e-zines and his lyrics were featured in the On Tour book series. A full collection of his work, entitled Butterflies w/ Butter Knives, is available on Amazon. When not writing poetry, David works on feature film screenplays, most recently The Figment (to be released soon on streaming video) and the forthcoming film In the Blood. He currently resides in Santa Clarita, CA, with his wife and beagle.