I find a diminutive plastic bag
On my kitchen counter
With a button in it
The kind that companies give you
Attached to a garment.
It’s a medium-size plastic button
With a shiny round edge.
It looks pretty important in there
And I debate what to do with it
whether to throw it in the trash
Or in the already full drawer
“Not the trash!“ it says to me
I’m an esthetically perfect creation
In a perfectly crafted plastic bag
With its scaled plastic seal.
Think of all it took to make us
Me and the bag.
Put me aside if you must,
but you’ll be happy to find me
The day your button fails!”
“But I don’t even know what piece of clothing
You come from” I answer.
And I try to picture the day
I lose a button
And look for a needle
And a thread,
And string the thread
In the needle,
And set to find the button
If I remember where I put it
Then sit down in broad daylight
And maybe look for my glasses
And finally get to sew the button
To whatever it is.
And it makes me very tired.
I’d rather write poems
Than spend my time sawing buttons.
“Look, if I listened to you
I would have to keep everything.
The books I bought and have not read yet
And the magazines,
The earrings I never wore, and the rest
I can’t start saving buttons now.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
“Maybe you could recycle us?
Save us in a tin box like Grandma? For craft projects?
For a memory bead necklace?”
Nice try. Ludicrous.
I rail at clothing companies
The waste they engender,
The crime they push me to consider.
Then close my eyes, pretend that I am not doing it
And throw the perfect baggie in the trash.
I hear it scream in there.
Oh, the instinct of survival!
“Ok, ok, I’ll recycle you,”
In a poem.
* * *
I wish I could (always) write deep, sacred poems that would touch people from spirit to spirit, but inspiration is not always accommodating. The inspiration for this item I found lying on my kitchen counter.
This poem actually gathered some very positive reviews, as shared here:
“Critics strain for new superlatives in lauding debut of new New England poet.” – The New Yolk Thymes
“Emerging from a long development as a hidden chrysalis, V. H. effortlessly floats from American to French flowers, drinking the nectar of inspiration.” – The Aurelian
” “Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not seems.” Newcomer V. H. is a gifted artificer and conjurer who weaves a seamless fabric of observation and reflection as naturally flowing as a purling stream descending a gentle slope.” – The Journal of the International Ladies Garments Workers Union
There was one negative reaction:
“Her appeal to a sentimental nostalgia for a retrograde technology left us feeling as though we had been buttonholed by an advocate of Ecological Probity. – The Velcro Institute