My Early Years Spent as a Conscript
in the Great Wisconsin Butter Wars

What "butter" was wasn’t really butter
but what my father would call funny
butter & what the law saw as contraband.
It was the stuff the butter cops pulled over
foreign, out-of-stater or innocent vacationers
for as they drove back across the state line. 
After a week away, Dad always got a sudden
urge to make an emergency pit stop before
crossing the line which would occasion
a case of criminal stick margarine tucked
neatly away in the trunk under our luggage
or beneath a week's worth of dirty laundry
just in case the "coppers" would stop us. 
Sadly, one case lasted only so long but
never long enough.  By the time winter
set in we’d run out & had to resort to
the Dairy state's oleo – legalized lard –
sold in thick plastic pouches, each with
its red nipple of dye dotting the center,
the job of kneading foisted on me,
the youngest, who needed to knead it
for a good half hour or so until red bled to
russet, to yellow & then ran for the corners,
a runny, egg-yolky, gutter yellow, our
state’s bright idea for the working stiff's
substitute for the real deal but good enough
until summer rolled back around & the family
was free again to bootleg another case of real,
honest-to-God stick oleo over the state line,
leaving everyone living high on hog lard
once more, free of punishment but not of sin.

—Terry Savoie, Davenport, IA