Christian Butterfield

Grade 12
Bowling Green, KY
Southeast Region

Christian Butterfield is a rising senior at Bowling Green High School. Ever since toddlerhood, he has been a voracious reader, taking inspiration in everything from his favorite children’s stories to the works of Sedaris, Ephron, and Atwood. As a non-neurotypical poet, much of Christian’s life has revolved around struggles with communication, and thus, all of his poetry, whether it centers around themes of sexuality, illness, or community, shares one goal: to empower the voices of both himself and those around him. When not writing, Christian enjoys acting as captain of his speech and debate team, participating in community theater, and watching reality television.

 

    the dying man writes a cookbook: told in two poems

    ingredients

    saccharin
    the FDA reported that
    artificial sweeteners (my saccharin,
    your pulse) may lead to
    cancer.
    an inexorable punctuation mark.
    to be a child is
    to be sugar water, all natural, no
    genetic modification.
    a testament to the power
    of potential energy.
    use a healthy serving of saccharin in your dish.
    your veins are too tired to fuss with
    kinetics.

    a kid cuisine
    you wish you had a cuisine,
    a real cuisine. its ancient syllables would trickle down parched lips, and
    onto the tiles of your oma’s kitchenette. you never had
    an oma.
    this cookbook won’t age well, its dust encases
    lungs. coughs out a story.
    a heritage. but its plot has been described by the new yorker as
    overly saccharine.
    boring.
    go to the supermarket (aisle 16
    by the hungry men) and pick up a kid cuisine.
    for your great-great-grandchildren.
    don’t worry about the sugar content, it’s all
    artificial anyways.

    ibuprofen
    the FDA reports that saccharin (my heartbeat,
    your veins) raises blood sugar.
    you don’t know about all that,
    but
    all this legacy talk is giving you
    a headache.

    recipe
    there is no
    way to sugarcoat what’s been lovingly dipped
    in saccharin.

    you are boring because you are boring.
    you are drill boring hole through
    family tree, a testament to the power
    of potential energy.
    there have been about seventy
    five thousand generations since the dawn of
    primordial men.
    wars waged.
    armies conquered. old blood
    dripping from sugar-rotted teeth, all to create you.
    you.
    an inexorable punctuation mark.
    follow these instructions carefully:

    sprinkle saccharin on my tombstone
    give this cookbook to my oma.
    smash my teeth in,
    while you’re at it.

Read more of Christian’s Poetry