The 2River View 15.2 (Winter 2011)

Allen Edwin Butt


If God makes clarity
it must decay. Blur shot with
sawed-off splendor momentarily
conceives of God again.

Example: one plain simile
in Greek, translated poorly
makes a rope into a camel, such
that we must wonder

what the English-speaking God knows
about needles: but it gets your
attention. I get sleepy & I say
it's late: not mannerism

(which anyway should not be
a pejorative) but eye raised
on experience, lodged in a nutshell, keeping
time with claw-marks

on the wall. Don't be surprised,
then, if a story surfaces.
Stories are another thing that God
approves of, & the proof is

Once upon a time there stood
a castle, from which one could smell,
at every hour of the day,
the preparations for a meal of boiled

cabbage but the cabbage never
finished boiling. The king & queen
at last became impatient (nobles
do) & asked how long

they had to wait, for even
kings & queens need nourishment.
The cooks (who had the whole time
kept the meager menu secret, letting

their employers think that quail
& lamb awaited them) apologized,
prepared & gave excuses, said
Not yet. Until the king & queen

began to rhapsodize upon the topic,
had described the meal that they
approached as curves approach an asymptote
in such detail (complete

with thick béarnaise sauce, fatty
cuts of meat, sliced peppers once as fat
as the bosom of a wet nurse) in such
detail that they could really taste it.

It helped that cabbage doesn't
smell like much, but really
didn't matter, since the king & queen
did not exist & also couldn't smell.

Allen Edwin Butt has appeared in Poetry, Venereal Kittens, and elsewhere. "In" is part of a sequence called 20 Prepositions, three of which are appearing in Issue 7 of Peaches & Bats. contact