Jane Hirshfield

It likes both to enter and to leave, 
actions it seems to feel as a kind of hide and seek. 
It knows nothing of what the cloth believes 
of its magus-like powers. 

If fastening and unfastening are its nature, 
it doesn’t care about its nature. 

It likes the caress of two fingers 
against its slightly thickened edges. 
It likes the scent and heat of the proximate body. 
The exhilaration of the washing is its wild pleasure. 

Immoralist, sensualist, dependent of cotton thread, 
its sleep is curled like a cat to a patch of sun, 
calico and round. 

Its understanding is the understanding 
of honey and jasmine, of letting what happens come. 

A button envies no neighboring button, 
no snap, no knot, no polyester-braided toggle. 
It rests on its red-checked shirt in serene disregard. 

It is its own story, completed. 

Brevity and longevity mean nothing to a button carved of horn. 

Nor do old dreams of passion disturb it, 
though once it wandered the ten thousand grasses 
with the musk-fragrance caught in its nostrils; 
though once it followed—it did, I tell you—that wind for miles.