An Episode of Buttons

from the book An Episode of Buttons by Carol Burnes ©1998

We spend hours together
wine with dinner small presents
but all you ask for is buttons
buttons for your brown coat
I’m supposed to know the one

But that was years ago
when we were familiar as buttons
and secret patches
small signs embroidered in your pocket
flowers from nowhere and code names

anonymous gifts for my wall
I research buttons
measure holes check shapes and colors
collect a whole bagful bright as pennies clicking
enough to close all your coats or open

Let’s do it over lunch at your place
all afternoon spread out
slipping through holes for a close fit
in different lights for the best color
finger and hold for the best shape

and after you choose
I have thread
and a needle
I’ll bring that too
You thread the needle

I’ll knot the ends
we’ll weave in and out
in all the right places
sew my buttons
into my life

<— Previous poem      Next poem —>