Dear I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter [Letter #2]

You’re still in the back of my fridge, lonely as God. This is how we’re similar: at times we’ve resigned to let the heat of this world ruin us, we may or may not be genetically modified, we’ve both been judged based on what we are not. I know it doesn’t matter—you don’t care that I’m composed of fistfuls of carbon, just like it doesn’t bother me that you consist of soybean oil and salt. I’m writing to let you know that I’m still moved by beauty in unexpected places. Last year I went to an orchestra performance in a room filled with wires. When the violinists finished playing their instruments, they started to play the wire, a single note—held it, then cut the wire, which released one final sound. I cried in that audience of strangers. I’ve never attended a house of worship but seek grace in all things. I take 8 vitamins every day. I’m 25 and have entered a phase of life that has not always been filled with the delight I feel when I gaze upon you, my savory substitute, leaning against a jar of expired pickles like a stoic. Dear Not-Butter, I can’t claim to know how old you are but I’m glad to know you all the same. My imaginary dairy. My condiment of imitation. My simulacrum of joy.


William Ward Butler is a writer and educator from Northern California. His poems have appeared in Assaracus, Bodega Magazine, Hobart, and other journals. He works for the Young Writers Program in Santa Cruz and teaches Word Lab, a free after-school creative writing program for middle school and high school students. He has received support from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Catamaran Writing Conference, and the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods. He tweets: @WilliamWButler