Peanut Butter

I opened up a jar of peanut butter
with the safety seal still intact
Pulling back that foil-paper-plastic tab
the scent of peanuts caught my nose
It’s funny how elephants eat peanuts
They say that they have great memories
I wouldn’t know, I’m neither scientist
nor pachyderm, but sometimes I remember
the shells containing nothing

worth bothering about

at least,

not in the grand scheme of god
I was in a Dartmouth suburb.
One might argue that all of Dartmouth
is a suburb, maybe even the whole province
Again, I digress to avoid truth
almost as much as I avoid truth to digress
Spin that around a bit
I might have been three or four,
early childhood stuff
The stuff that clings to the fringes and folds
of your forgotten, pale, mind
like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth;
like your first jack in the box
and that weird poking music it made before
that clown face jumps out at you
Anyway, those memories stick
Now I’m driving a battery powered car
It was red, might have been modelled
after a corvette, but it’s too blurry to tell
in the myopic lens of the mind
The driveway was packed dirt,
maybe gravel,
but those little, hollow-plastic wheels
scratched the pebbles and drove me forward,
mostly in circles
I remember my mother calling my name
Is it funny that I don’t remember her voice?
She stood at the top of the dull
blue painted wooden steps,
at the screen door, smoothing her skirt
I don’t want to come in
but it’s lunchtime
That strikes me as funny,
From a child’s perspective
it’s all so different
Somehow, during my 9-5 day job
as a toddler,
I’d have to break for lunch
at the appointed, hunger-less, time
I went inside and stuffed peanut butter
sandwiches, with thick rough bread,
into my face and cheeks
like a goddamn machine
It wasn’t pre-sliced bread;
it was sawn like a log
or a side of beef
The peanut butter was thick,
on dry bread,
but with cold milk, it was magic

After hurried eating
I went back outside
with sticky fingers and a milk moustache
I saw other kids running away
One kid in particular,
was four of five years older
than me, a giant
more or less, it’s all about perspective
Age is forever when you’re young
So that fat little bastard,
back in the days when you
never saw fat kids,
decided to test drive
a toddlers tiny electric car
He broke the axle
and cracked the plastic body
nearly in half
and ran away laughing

My mom knew the kid
and his alcoholic old man
with his greasy mechanic hands
and unwashed breath
Not much a single mom could do,
in those days,
against a man like that
She’d have been asking for trouble
Sure as hell couldn’t buy another one
I think she cursed at them
It was too late for it
She couldn’t console her crying
Little boy either
but she tried

I screwed the plastic lid
back onto the jar of peanut butter
and put it back in the pantry,
closing the folding white door behind
I miss my mother,
and the peanut butter?
I guess I just wasn’t craving it
after all

© Christopher Raine