A Jar of Buttons
From Delights & Shadows. Copper Canyon Press, 2004.
This is a core sample
from the floor of the Sea of Mending,
a cylinder packed with shells
that over many years
sank through fathoms of shirts –
pearl buttons, blue buttons –
and settled together
beneath waves of perseverance,
an ocean upon which
generations of women set forth,
under the sails of gingham curtains,
and, seated side by side
on decks sometimes salted by tears,
made small but important repairs.
Poem copyright Ted Kooser, used here with permission.