Buttons | Anthony Lawrence

They taste worse than coins

         and are used in spells

                   as when my mother

         put a curse on my first

social engagement with a girl.

         As we stepped out of the cinema

                   she failed to negotiate

         the toggles on her coat

and was taken by the need

         to perform public acts

                   of intimacy, such as

         running her hands

through the flickering neon

         of her hair as red lines       

                   like scarification

         appeared on her face.

I have a button

         with a wolf’s head set in pearl

                   that I stole

         from a market in Wiltshire -

some village known for

         its car boot sales and cider.

                  I have tried wearing it

         like a brooch or badge

but the wolf's ear rubbed

         my left nipple raw.

                  When made into a ring

         it gleamed on my finger

like an advanced hallmark

         of melanoma.

                  These days I wear clothes

         cut from one piece of cloth

and the wolf has a paper-clip

         holding its mouth together.

                  Life is rich and uneventful.







Anthony Lawrence has published sixteen books of poems, the most recent being 101 Poems (Pitt Street Poetry, 2018). Headwaters (Pitt Street Poetry, 2016) won the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. He teaches Creative Writing at Griffith University and lives on Moreton Bay.

























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