He was buttering the guns again, a Sunday night ritual. He had warmed the butter in the microwave until it softened just enough to sag slightly, but when he smeared it on the steel, I could smell butter melting in a cast-iron skillet, sizzling gently, waiting for a couple of eggs or prairie oysters. Or mountain oysters. Mountain oysters, now: I imagine them lurking in the canyons lining narrow clefts in the sandstone with shoals of ragged shells; wary, feral bivalves crowded together in unreachable gaps, They would murmur ancient incantations to their fossil brothers deep in the sedimentary rock. Wherever the shadows did not move, the stone would still hold the metallic scent of the ocean’s cold memories.
©2003 F.J. Bergmann
"Guns, Butter" appeareded in the Mississippi Review Vol. 33 #1 & 2
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