Yogurt (White Culture)

Christopher Spaide

Let’s pack the yum back in bacterium, yes, let’s restock the dairy
Onto legendary—you can bet your derrière that daily, duly,
Yes, yours truly too digests it, without a doubt, without delay.
Doll up your morning: one snow-white dollop’s just plain hunky dory,

One tub should tuck the tummy in each night. Can I get a witness
For this whiteness? Do you want a whiff? Each lick, like a white lie, lies lightly
On a tongue stung politely by an assaulting tang, delicately
Lipid-lapped, sweat-salt, a sour sniff and slight sweep of sweetness

And light even the antique Greeks, first curdlers of our culture,
Could call good eats. What taste graced their mouths when, agape at the galaxy—
Maternal matter spattered scattershot, eternal-churning helix,
O macrocosmic whey of the whirled!—they named it milky? What guiltier,

What whiter pleasure than pure Platonic Form, the plural normalized,
Homogenized to humdrum mumble, monotonous as quietness
Or white noise the smudged pitch of which signals nothing but the whatness
Of nothing, packed heat so white it might blanch off my scalded, caramelized

Skin. Skimmed of what’s most distasteful, fine embellished, best unblemished,
Our local yogurt is a grouty grim assimilation, a feel-good strangeness
Strained to straighten out a knotted gut yoga-pant taut—metabolic engines
Crawling the corporate farm, microfloral forests sprayed the same absorbing shade:

White of teeth-whitening, lightning, fridge light, lab coat, bleached-sheet, enriched-wheat,
Wonder, whiter than whale, Wimbledon, wedding dress, fluffed bedding, wifebeater, blood
Cells, as white as C major, complacency, “fields of cotton look wintry white,” angel food,
Apple-brand, alabaster, master bathroom, classical urn, plastic lid, all white

Already! Below microbe-filled robe-folds, colony-forming units stand and wait.
A swarm as warm as mother’s milk snores dormant—what a surf of devilish
Surface, what surfeit preserving decadence, decades hence. What a privilege,
To go with everything. Yogurt, repeat after me, we are what

We eat, so I eat this, this scooped-out moonscape’s migraine-white wane
Away from fullness, this mesophilic starter’s will to kill to plane
Down variation, this mirthful mouthfeel alloyed of waste and plenty and a vein
Of villainy, my favorite flavor, please and thank you. Vanilla, was it? Or plain?


Christopher Spaide is a doctoral candidate in the English department at Harvard. His work has appeared in Chicago ReviewColorado ReviewThe Common, PoetryThe Yale Review, and elsewhere.