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.

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