Real Butter

A refrigerator tells a story. When you invite me over,

I like to open the door, the fleeting world within


a fleeting world. The bookshelf of the body.

What you consume, consumes you.


A refrigerator is not a zen garden or minimalist sculpture

Or graveyard for half-full mustards and mayonnaise.


Take-out containers say you’re not here or you don’t like

to dirty your hands. I look for local cheese, milk


that comes in jars and homemade jam.

I want a good party, a gathering of just enough.


Ginger and tamari. Local eggs and arugula. Maybe cornichons

or at least kosher dills. A French Bleu, a sauvignon blanc.


And everyone these days seems to have a thing for the Greek

yogurt.  Meet me with your figs and heirloom tomatoes,


I want to say, have you tried their Stout

or met Anders, the cheese maker at the farmer’s market.


But I’ll be happy if there’s real butter

and cream for my morning coffee.


In some languages hunger and desire

share the same root. The beginning of the narrative,


a refrigerator is a map

or snapshot taken.


The place of longing

and belonging.


Because both memory and food are sensory in nature, it’s impossible for me to separate one from the other. Food tells the story of family, of landscape and culture. Certain dishes appear at certain functions. I grew up hearing that catch phrase: You are what you eat. This poem was my way of celebrating a return home to Ohio and to naming what I love.

–Carly Sachs



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