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The Women in Literature and Life Assembly
of
The National Council of Teachers of English
Editor:  Patricia Kelly kellyp@vt.edu
Volume 7
Fall 1998


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Buttons

Angela Schmidt, Auburn, Alabama

Sundays, while the men
took my brother fishing in
the lagoon,
Grandmother would retrieve
her button bag
from a drawer under the
sewing machine
and we would sit under the
window
counting pairs,
hooking needles through
button mouths,
drawing threads tight,
anchoring flat faces to
flowered swatches.
Finger's pricked and sore,
I would reach into the bag,
watch buttons slide over my
damp skin
like tiny worn seashells
and wish myself onto the
river shore
with worms, tackle, and wet
sandy tennis shoes.
I asked her once why we
stayed behind,
why we buttoned our mouths,
anchored ourselves to the
rust-colored couch.
"The men need time to do
men things together."

Reference Citation: Schmidt, A. (1998). "Buttons." The ALAN Review, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Fall, 1998), p. 30.


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