Button

On my desk is a bamboo box holding a silver thimble
I stole from my mother’s sewing box

long ago. I have a golden Boatswain’s Whistle, Poet’s House
blue membership card that quotes

Emily Dickinson:  “I dwell in Possibility—
A fairer House than prose—”

There’s an ebony fish with a hinged gill, two blue pills inside.
Yellowing from pearl white—

a button taped to one scrap of gray paper. In black script
these words:  “Shirt button

from Robert’s pink and white Land’s End shirt. Nametag
ironed into collar. Let me know if you want

rest of the shirt. Peace—M.”  I did not want the shirt, or book
from his collection, or cup, or spoon,

belt, or buckle, whiskey bottle or pen, another button.
Others have artifacts of a life

I hope allow tranquil dreams in any brutish night,
or restless afternoon.

As Borges wrote,  “…while we sleep here, we are awake elsewhere
and that in this way every man is two men.”

On my desk is Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair,
a weekly planner with a space to scribble

a list–tasks, reveries, that will give this week a sense of being
possible, complete, until

next week, or another.

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