"...its sleep is curled like a cat to a
patch of sun"
by Jane Hirshfield
My husband buttons up his shirt unaware
the second button from the top is dangling
like a hostage from a rope. How long it must
have worked to get this close to freedom!
I imagine the liberation of all buttons,
one learning the secret and spreading the word
in closets and elevators, plotting under coats
on crowded buses and trains.
How, at a chosen moment they'll pop off
shirts and blouses, jettison out towards the light.
And oh! the chaos that will ensue as skin is bared,
as curlings of chest hair poke out, and nipples shrink
back from the cool kiss of air.
What fate would await them? Would they wrestle
onto their sides and collect, form a constitution
bound from loose threads, a toss-up for hierarchical
placement-the best sewn close to the throat,
the rest tucked into musky darkness?
Better yet, they'd scatter down city streets,
along bike paths, up sides of buildings, over bridges,
onto boats and planes. In twos of threes, they'd roll
in no hurry heading east across the flat Midwest.
Or going solo, one might hitchhike on a thong
across a pale sandy beach.
Of course, I'd want to push them
on a quest to seek their plastic, wood, or bony roots.
Even now-yanked free-this one rests
there on the edge of the dresser
where the early morning sun winks
down upon its cat-curled form.
First appeared in MÖBIUS,
P. J. Taylor ©2002