How to Build a Lifeboat Out of Peanut Butter
by Kathryn Almy

First make a mold. Construct a mound at least twice the size of your body using whatever you have on hand: sand, driftwood, old clothes, a large boulder, or the bodies of your dead companions. Spread with peanut butter to an approximate depth of one-half inch and allow to dry in the sun for two weeks (three to four is better). Ideally you will have enough food, fresh water, and means to shelter yourself from the sun that you will survive until the peanut butter has cured. Pray it doesn’t rain. When the hull has dried, carefully lift it off the mold and fill in any cracks or holes with fresh peanut butter. Secure the hull to something buoyant such as a raft.

IMAGE: Double Mona Lisa (Peanut Butter and Jelly) (After Warhol) by Vik Muniz (1999).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this for a prose poetry workshop taught by Kathleen McGookey. The assignment was to write a surreal poem, and I was intrigued by the notion of apparently useful instructions that are in reality entirely useless.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathryn Almy lives in Michigan and works in a public library when not sheltering in place. Her poetry and essays have appeared in various print and on-line publications, including  Panoply, The Offbeat, Star 82 Review, New Verse News, The 3288 Review, and previously on Silver Birch Press.