3 Betty White Poems

The (One Minute) Proposal

For a minute pretend to be Ryan Reynolds so Betty is your grandmother. Pretend you’re Sandra Bullock; Betty is altering your wedding dress. Betty is gifting you a family heirloom. Betty is laughing with you and knows your heart and how to make you admit desire to yourself. She shows you the dream you want to chase after. The love you want. The plane you’ll run after while needing to know the definition of three forms of catch, but only understanding the one. Realizing you would have self-rejected based on the impossibility of it all until she showed you the true meaning of chase. But the minute is over. And this was all on proposal. Nevertheless, play “for a minute” hundreds of times a day. In this way keep her spirit alive.

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The recipe for the Fountain of Youth

is equal parts red 

licorice and vodka, with

Betty, before meals.

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Playing the Word Association Game with Betty White

Betty said she’d grant me one wish. I told her I’d always wanted to play the word association game with Betty White. She said, “Well that settles it. Go ahead!” I uttered the first word: glass. Betty promptly answered, “I can’t decide between wine or vodka. What are you making for dinner?” I told her that’s not how the game works. She said, “Ok. Go again.” The next word was dessert. Betty chuckled. I told her to answer faster. She said, “I’ll keep the answer to myself.” I told her that’s not how the game works. She asked what we were having for dinner. I told her that’s not how the game works. She said, “Fine,” and came back in the room offering me a couple of Red Vines and holding a vodka in the other hand. She told me, “Dinner isn’t required when you’ve got Red Vines and vodka. I’m ready for the next one,” she said, biting off the end of her piece of licorice and swishing it down with a vodka chaser. But this time if you’d give me a little context I can give you a better answer.” One final time I told her that’s not how the game works. She asked what I meant. I explained. Her response, “I’m the only one who knows the answers to words associated with Betty White. I am the game.”


Elizabeth Bates is a Best of the Net and Pushcart-nominated writer living in Washington state with her family. She is the author of poetry chapbook, MOSAICS & MIRAGES (Fahmidan Publishing & Co., 2022). Twitter: @ElizabethKBates

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