in the buttery

cassatt child drinking milk

his mother calls it the buttery,
their root cellar in the cave…
where raw milk awaits cleavage
of acidic watermilk beneath
ascending cream

son enters…flames a match
to stub candles on a barrel…
along walls are bins of apples
carrots squash potatoes all
arrested…chilled in the dark;
a shiver sweats across his back

he skims sweet milk…thickened
to his mouth…across his tongue
in cool solitary…needs its satin
satisfaction after haying swelter
monotonous with row and row;
straw prickles on his arms…his legs

then…in a summer barn with cows
full uddered warm above his hand
his fingers stroke a rhythm…milking;
and he is drawn to memory of breast


Bonnie Marshall

Art by Mary Cassatt


8 thoughts on “in the buttery

  1. This is wonderfully evocative Bonnie…. calls to all the senses.
    So funny…I glanced around your new theme here and only the top part filled my screen. I began reading “Browse” thinking this was your poem…. not bad if a little different than your usual style. LOL
    “So tight a frame my skeleton and I…we dance in the house of fortune (and now a joke?) Two angles walk into a bar moaning of the turtle….” etc. Had me going! Still laughing…

    1. Laughing about that also, Jana. Serendipity just happens, and it’s grand fun…reminds me of the years ago poem about our muses walking into a coffee bar. Think you’d like that “Two Angels…” poem. Smiles, and thank you so much.

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