Hers were stories that were unintentional puzzles
not written for interpretation,
she said.
"No, they're not meant to be figured out." Still,
when someone leaves a page of mazes on a table with a pencil
people tend to do the obvious.

.


title from Where do these girls come from these days? Some finishing school in the desert?

a button is too weak to hold and to last
you'll have to do better than that

don't hold it against me for squirming
out of tight warmth to find grace

if you're the one who finds my corpse,
then you may hold me in a frozen moment

but don't waste me with the burdens of buttons,
I am infancy, loveflesh, I want to climb jet trails,

to drop into a well-awaited ocean,
I want to fix this "me" person but the noise you're making

confuses me, witness - you make it easy for me
to make you wait so unbecomingly for my surrender

to keep fighting my way out of this weak and unprotected lock
until I've broken it, or until someone else breaks in

to find me, to pick me up and to inspect me
and to leave the cage just like the rest, with or without me

less than articulate
was how I described to her
the sounds she was making

this was when she explained to me
about wanting to be heard
not listened to

much as it would have been the most reasonable course to play deaf
I uttered a shriek of pleasure

having, incidently
prepared for such pretension of hers
I told her what would happen
would I not listen

urgently displeased was her glance
stinging and glaring
with the cold notion of superiority

For a fleeting smile
for anyone to unbutton,
I dusted off a baby doll
dressing it in aged blue,
saved a lifetime by his mother
now ashes to ashes, dust
to dust, at his father's side
in Cleveland, Ohio.


I murmured to him as I fumbled
on fourteen tiny pearl buttons,
Your mother must have
buttoned and unbuttoned these
so many times for her beautiful boy.


With love unfaded, blue like his eyes
and satin ribboned, a woolen bib and
handmade booties, a ragged hole in
one toe, unraveling seventy-five years
later, and two white threads at the neck
where she once removed the label
to keep her firstborn from fussing.

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