Mummy gently poured the buttons from their silver tin onto the carpet
In a glorious jumble of singles and clusters strung upon threads and silk ribbons.
We picked them up and fondled them, and to the chink and click of the buttons
As they poured from hand to hand, she told their stories.
“This one closed Nana’s Opera Coat against the winter wind.
These tiny pearls buttoned Great-Grandma’s beautiful Sunday dress.
Those brass ones flew on Daddy’s Air Force uniform during the war.
Those satin ones ran up the back of Mummy’s favorite ballet costume and
These were on your tiny knitted baby sweater that Auntie Tannie made.”
There were lots of buttons. Buttons
Smelling of bone and silver and brass and leather,
Sparkling with rhinestones, pearls and glitter
Feeling smooth and bumpy, ridgidy and fine
Whispering of lives lived and loves lost and won.
People have buttons, too – the fastening-feelings kind, forced by life’s events
Holding long locked doors to places consciousness wouldn’t, couldn’t go,
Embedded in the body’s cells – that nagging backache,
That tightness in the throat for words held back,
The headache that never really goes away.
People buttons begin to slip loose
When they know we’re ready to experience the feelings they’ve held fast.
Honor them gently, like the Buttons in Mummy’s silver box.
Let them tell their stories, knowing you’ may safely drink
The wine of past experience to its fullest
And feel fully what has been held for you.
For when you do, your soul will fill with light
And you will know Ecstasy.